Developing next generation of ecologists

CONSERVATION Suzanne Jenkins, HIWWT trainee
CONSERVATION Suzanne Jenkins, HIWWT trainee
Newbridge Junior School Picture: Maria Bujor

Children in Need: Junior School has a pretty perfect Pudsey plan

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Often it can be difficult taking that first step to get experience working in ecology – but it’s essential for nature’s future that the next generation of ecologists are given the support they need.

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is offering two traineeships for graduates keen to gain work experience in the conservation sector.

We take on trainees to help us in our work to protect wildlife, as well as to help them develop their careers.

They are vital to helping the ecology and evidence team to monitor and survey our nature reserves, which in turn helps us make the right decisions about how we manage different habitats for wildlife.

Over 10 years of offering work experience, more than 40 people have participated in the trust’s structured ecology placement – and gone on to successful careers, working in a range of disciplines.

Case study: Suzanne Jenkins took part in the scheme in 2014. She studied ecology and conservation at Anglia Ruskin University and completed an MSc in taxonomy and biodiversity in 2007.

Suzanne wanted to pursue a career in ecology and came across the trust’s placement scheme. She was impressed by the field work opportunities on offer, and the fact that the scheme offered a structured programme covering many different elements of ecology work.

Suzanne recalls working in one of her favourite habitats, chalk rivers, where under the direction of our ecologist, Dr Ben Rushbrook, she helped with our conservation work for the white-clawed crayfish and southern damselfly.

Suzanne describes how helping with the trust’s water vole conservation project on the River Meon was a real highlight.

She said: ‘I felt really privileged to work on the water vole reintroduction project, it was an amazing experience to be part of.

‘The ecology team were excellent, they were very supportive and I learnt so much. It was really useful to meet people already working in the sector and ask about their experiences.’

At the end of the placement scheme, Suzanne was offered a position of graduate ecologist at an ecological consultancy.

Suzanne’s experience shows how the placement scheme not only helps people keen to develop a career in ecology but is essential to the Wildlife Trust’s work to protect local wildlife.

There are two trainee placements available this year, starting in May.

For more information and to apply, visit hiwwt.org.uk/jobs.