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Lead Adviser

Age: 42

Organisation: Natural England

Rebecca Tibbetts MCIEEM - Lead Adviser


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

I was always interested in biology and at about 14 decided I was most interested in Botany and that was what I wanted to study at University. I was influenced by a bypass being built around my home village when I was 10. I saw the bypass being built and thought ‘but what about the rabbits and the birds and where have they all gone?'  I loved my botany degree with the geography and ecology that it involved, but also found the physiology of plants fascinating.

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

After my degree (BSc Plant Sciences), I wanted to continue studying and undertook a DPhil in Plant Ecophysiology. I loved research but found more enjoyment reading other people’s work rather than actually doing it myself. So I left academia and investigated environmental consultancy, making contacts there which led to a job.

How long have you been in your current role?

6 years

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

Setting up and managing Higher Level Stewardship Agri-environmental agreements. Managing Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and other biodiversity related projects.

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

Wildlife knowledge and negotiation skills.

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

Dealing with people and negotiating practical solutions to problems on the ground – both challenging and rewarding.

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

From ecological consultant with surveying and protected species skills I took on planning casework for Natural England but have now moved into the Land Management area of Natural England. I hope to be promoted to work in more detailed habitat management work associated with research or monitoring of SSSIs and European site work.

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

Volunteer with wildlife trusts etc and make contacts. Contacts can lead to temporary work which hopefully will lead to a full time role.