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Senior Natural Environment Officer

Age: 45

Organisation: States of Jersey

Tim Liddiard MCIEEM - Senior Natural Environment Officer

 

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

My mother’s interest and questioning of the Natural World ‘rubbed off’ on me and I have wanted to know more since my teen years. Apart from occasional work during school / college holidays, my working life has been focused on environmental management.

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

I was very lucky, being in the right place at the time - I studied a 3 year HND at Seale Hayne College and spent my placement working for Jersey Wildlife Conservation Trust (now Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust). This created an opportunity for me to fill a field biology post immediately after qualification. Saying this, I have always been dedicated and worked as a volunteer on many occasions to gather experience. In addition to joining CIEEM and Society of Biology I have not gained any major qualifications. However, in order to carry out my present role adequately I have needed to learn skills which require up-to-date assessment including First Aid and Health and Safety.

How long have you been in your current role?

I started work at the Environment Department as a Ranger in 1996 and as a part of departmental evolution my job title changed in 2002 from Senior Ranger to Senior Natural Environment Officer.

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

My time is split between monitoring, meetings (on site and office), patrolling and office work. Evolution of my role has dictated that the majority of my time is now office-based. The key responsibilities which control my days include –

  • Implementing conservation legislation
  • Writing policy documents
  • Site management of Sites of Special Ecological Interest (Jersey’s equivalent to Sites of Special Scientific Interest)
  • Management Planning
  • Access (public footpath) management
  • Planning for protected species
  • Habitat and species monitoring
  • Ecological advisor to land owners and tenants

As with most ‘land based’ careers some time is taken up by ‘firefighting’ in response to unplanned events. Working with people also requires a certain amount of unplanned time to deal with enquiries on a daily basis.

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

Due to my role being so advisory orientated, I have found that a broad understanding of everything environmental is more beneficial than a detailed understanding of an individual subject. My having progressed through the ranks from working in the field to organising contractors, working parties and their schedules has undoubtedly helped me make decisions on a wide range of countryside related issues.

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

Being involved in far reaching and effective projects is a particular bonus. http://www.birdsontheedge.org/wild-jersey/ is an on-going project which promises to deliver environmental improvements to the Island. From a personal perspective, and after speaking with people in similar work in the UK, there is always an inherent necessity to contest issues where the Law or relevant policy are not robust enough to protect a particular feature – the environment is always on the back foot. Some of these end in success and some do not. These successes and failures can be seen as the roller coaster aspect of my work and as such, the most rewarding and challenging.

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

My career path started immediately after College when I started work as a Field Biologist in Mauritius (four years), then Madagascar (one year) and New Zealand (one year). On my return to Jersey in 1996 I became a Ranger for the Environment Department, and was made Senior Ranger in 1998. In 2002 my job title and role were changed to Senior Natural Environment Officer. My plans are flexible and I am conscious that if I progress from my present role then my works will be almost completely office-based.

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

In any sector where demand outweighs supply, potential employees need to stand out and be remembered by employers. Dedication and enthusiasm are two personal attributes which should always be worked on and quantified through voluntary services and other means.