Helen

Brushcutting

To get to my current role as Carbon Landscape Trainee, I have taken the long way around having initially kicked off my working life as a journalist. I gained a journalism degree from UCLAN, where I graduated in 2007, and went on to work for a female interest website until August 2016, where I worked my way up from staff writer to editor. I was still working as a journalist when I started to volunteer at Brockholes Nature Reserve as a Volunteer Ranger, a position that I still hold, and it really got under my skin and I started to think about a change in career path.

In the August of 2016 I threw all my eggs into one basket, left my job and enrolled onto a Conservation Management Masters course at Edge Hill University. The year-long course was the best educational experience of my whole life and was a terrific way to learn a lot in such a short space of time. Whist at Edge Hill, I was also volunteering two days a week as a Conservation Intern at Brockholes, which gave me the perfect balance of academic and practical experiences.

I graduated in September 2017 and became a full-time Conservation Intern at Brockholes, where I worked alongside the Assistant Reserve Manager on practical tasks around the site, leading volunteer groups and gaining City & Guild qualifications in Tractor Driving, Sit Astride ATV, Brush-cutter and PA1.

In May 2018, I joined the Carbon Landscape as one of three new trainees, my first paid conservation position. Over the next nine months I am looking to continue to develop my practical skills, particularly working in mosslands for the first time and continuing to develop wetland and woodland experience. I am also exciting at the opportunity to boost my surveying skills and try out as many different surveying techniques as possible. Over the summer, I will continue my wetland bird surveys, something I have been doing with the Citizen Science part of the Carbon Landscape Project, and take on wildflower and dragonfly/damselfly surveys for the first time at Low Hall Nature Reserve.

However, my traineeship is not all about developing practical skills as I am keen to get the chance to write funding applications, develop report writing and QGIS skills as well as working with community groups and ‘Friends of’ groups along the way.

The Carbon Landscape traineeship is an exciting position and opportunity and I have a very busy nine months ahead of it. I hope that this position will help me plug some key skills gaps as well as develop and enhance skills that I already have from my career as a journalist, my Masters studies and my time as a Conservation Intern.

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