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Principal Ecologist

Age: 42

Organisation: Celtic Ecology

Hugh Dixon MCIEEM - Principal Ecologist


Why did you decide on a career in ecology/environmental management, and when did you decide?

I had a strong interest in the environment and wildlife from a very early age. When I realised that a military career wasn't going to happen and a typical office job was not for me I realised that working with wildlife and the countryside was the way forward.

How did you get started in the sector?  What qualifications and experience did you have? Have you gained any additional qualifications since?

Once I decided what I wanted to do I studied for a Geography Degree and a BTEC Professional Development Certificate in Countryside Management. While studying I did as much volunteering as I could with Somerset Wildlife Trust and the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Team. I have gathered a number of professional certificates since, including chainsaws, pesticides, tree climbing, aerial rescue and confined spaces training.

How long have you been in your current role?

Four years

What does a typical day involve? What are your responsibilities?

There is no typical day. Daily activities include administration, writing quotes, designing and undertaking field surveys, writing reports, responding to clients’ requests for information, providing advice to clients and potential clients, providing site supervision, designing mitigation, running CIEEM's Welsh Geographic Section and coming up with new ideas for conservation and business.

What do you think are the most important skills for someone in your role to have?

The ability to be in more than one place at a time doing more than one thing in each place, flexibility, honesty (with oneself as well as clients), perseverance, integrity.

Describe the aspects of your job you find particularly rewarding and those you find challenging?

Rewarding: being out and about and finding stuff. Challenging: report writing and business admin.

Describe your career progression so far and any plans you have for the future

Career progression to date: voluntary work – part time contract – fixed term full time contract – full time job – self-employment – self-promotion to Principal Ecologist! I have lots of plans but not enough space here!

What one piece of advice would you give to someone seeking a career in the sector?

Keep going, believe in yourself, always ask questions, be prepared to challenge the status quo, be honest about your abilities and be able to admit you are stuck and need help.