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Ranger (2)

Age: 57

Organisation: National Trust

Stephen Bradley MCIEEM - Ranger


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

Lifelong interest in natural history, outdoors, landscape. Interested in career after university, but no relevant advice or opportunities at the time. Jobs as Research Assistant in plant breeding (2 years), then Scientific Officer in medical lab (17 years) until redundancy.

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

Contract work linked to voluntary bat work; part-time nature reserve warden with organisations I had volunteered for; part-time field teacher. BSc Hons Biology; PGCE Biology + Outdoor Pursuits; certificate in Ecology & Habitat Management; lots of voluntary naturalist experience including bat licence (roost visitor, trainer). Additional qualifications since: chainsaw, brushcutter, tractor, pesticides.

How long have you been in your current role?

14 years

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

No two days are the same! Practical habitat management (scrub control, tree felling, planting, spraying, etc); wildlife survey & monitoring; public access issues (maintain paths, walls, gates, etc); public engagement (walks, talks, schools, colleges, events, articles); volunteer recruitment & management; training & directing interns, apprentices, junior staff; policing.

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

Enthusiasm, approachability, adaptability, communication.

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

Rewarding – practical, outdoors, wildlife-focussed, engagement with small groups and individuals.

Challenging – paperwork, bureaucracy, politics.

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

Started as Warden (= Site Ranger), initially part-time. Currently acting Senior Ranger.  Plan to go back to Site Ranger.

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

Volunteer with a wide range of organisations in the sector.