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Land Management Adviser

Age: 26

Organisation: Natural England

Jack Haynes

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

After leaving sixth form college I was unsure which career path to take so I went straight into full-time employment in civil engineering to gain work experience and decide what I really wanted to do. I had always been greatly interested in the natural world, so, following this break from education, I decided to return to university to study ecology in order to begin a career I knew would really interest me in the long-term.

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

After graduating with a BSc in Ecology from the University of Essex (first class honours) in 2013, I got a job at Natural England as an Adviser within the Norfolk and Breckland Land Management Team.

How long have you been in your current role?

Four months

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

My role is has two main parts; assisting the team in processing Environmental Stewardship agreements and carrying out work associated with the conservation of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s). I have also been involved in Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF), a project which engages with farmers to reduce Diffuse Water Pollution from Agriculture (DWPA). The role is primarily office-based but I have also been on site visits to farms and SSSI’s to see how the work is put into practice.

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

Good organisational skills and flexibility are needed to manage the varied workload and meet targets and, as the organisation uses different systems for various aspects of work, a good level of computer literacy is also required. There is frequent external communication with a wide array of customers and organisations, as well as communication within the organisation, so communication and interpersonal skills are also very important.

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

The team made me feel welcome right away and this made it easy to approach and gain knowledge from colleagues with a wealth of experience within a wide range of areas. It is particularly rewarding to see the high level of enthusiasm that land owners and occupiers have for the natural environment and their receptiveness in helping conserve it. An aspect of the role that can be challenging is the time associated with processing and paperwork; but seeing this work put into practice and the positive impacts it delivers certainly more than makes up for it.

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

As this is my first full-time job within the sector, I am aiming to get involved in as many different work areas as possible in order to build my knowledge. I also aim to improve my identification skills in a number of areas by going on various courses this year.

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

With the sector being particularly competitive, the one piece of advice I would give would be to get involved in as much as possible (i.e. through volunteering, internships, training courses, professional memberships etc.), alongside gaining the necessary academic qualifications, in order to set your CV apart from other entrants into the sector.