A day in the life of a Reserves Trainee

HMWT Reserves Team

Find out what our Reserves Trainees Alex and Verity were up to in the past year and what they'll miss now that their training is complete.

Alex and Verity have just completed their Reserves Training. We spoke to them about their experiences with the Trust.

What was your highlight in the past year?

Alex: There have been many highlights so I will have to pick three: Learning to use a chainsaw for woodland management, working with a great team and seeing Hertfordshire through the seasons.

Verity: How to choose, there are so many highlights! Broadly, my highlight has been how much I’ve learnt about wildlife and how to manage sites to help nature thrive. I’ve gained so many new skills and done things I never thought I’d be able to do (using a chainsaw!). I particularly enjoyed carrying out surveys (e.g. for water voles, birds and plants), learning how to ID new species and working in a wide range of habitats surrounded by wildlife. And of course all the people I’ve met and worked with along the way – my team and our volunteers are amazing and I’ve loved working with such kind and dedicated people.

Verity and Alex Reserves Trainees

What are you going to do now?

Alex: My "other" job is in IT for UCL which I'll go back doing for two days a week, but I'll continue to volunteer with the Trust whilst looking for a job in countryside management.

Verity: I took a sabbatical from my full-time job at Greenpeace, so the plan is to return here and get back to the desk! I’ll be keeping my eye on conservation jobs and continue to get experience in the conservation sector by volunteering with the London Wildlife Trust (my local patch).

Verity Reserves Trainee

What will you miss from working at the Trust? 

Alex: The wildlife and conservation knowledge of all the people here at the Trust.

Verity: Going back to a full-time office job is going to be a real shock for me! I’ve loved working outside and being around like-minded people who are passionate about conservation, so I’ll miss this immensely.

What would you tell someone who is considering applying for this role?

Verity: Go for it! If you’re keen to work in conservation or just want to learn more about wildlife and how to help protect it, I’d highly recommend the trainee scheme. It has given me the skills and experience to change my career and I’ve had an amazing year doing all sorts of work at some really important conservation sites. Every day is different from the last at the Trust, so you’ll get experience in many different aspects of the role, from chainsawing and leading work parties to ID skills and first aid. The Trust really cares about their trainees and their personal development, so training and courses are a key part of the role – making this a genuine development opportunity.

Alex: The past year has been a very varied and enjoyable one with so much crammed in (in a good way). Every day is different so you could be using chainsaws or brush cutters one day and managing volunteer work parties or go water vole surveying the next.

If you’re keen to work in conservation or just want to learn more about wildlife and how to help protect it, go for it!
Verity

Alex, you set yourself a challenge of visiting all of the Trust’s nature reserves. What was your motivation for that?

I wanted to see all the different habitats that Hertfordshire has to offer. The Trust looks after nearly 40 of them including heathland and orchards, so you can be sure there's a good diversity. 

Now that you’ve completed them all, do you have a favourite?

Well, Cassiobury Park has definitely a special place in my heart, as it was the first one I visited.

How long did it take you?  

It took me around 4 years. I had set the challenge before I started the trainee scheme and had visited about 20 reserves already. Another 15 were covered through work parties during the year and some I visited during my weekends. The last reserve I visited was Hunsdon & Eastwick Meads in the East of Hertfordshire.

 

We are currently recruiting for a new Reserves Trainee. Find more info and apply here.