The variety of work is what I love most about the job. So instead of attempting to depict an “average day”, here’s a flavour of the array of work I’ve been involved with so far in the 10 months since joining Mott MacDonald.
A love of nature and the outdoors is what attracted me to ecology. Therefore, it was with excitement that I set off for a week of reptile surveys, just a few days into my job! Since then I have gained experience in a range of protected species and habitat surveys, with highlights including: badger bait-marking in the Midlands to determine territorial boundaries, setting out water vole traps in Kent for translocation, and botanical surveys in Greater London to classify habitats. This is allowing me to develop vital ecological survey skills, whilst discovering new places around the UK.
Back in the office, I have also had plenty of interesting work to keep me busy. Desk based reviews are a crucial step of ecological assessments; helping to evaluate whether projects might impact ecological features known to be in the area. Through the process of Habitat Regulations Assessments, I have been particularly involved with evaluating how European protected sites may be impacted by proposed plans or projects. This has included a range of exciting proposals, from a port regeneration, to flood defences, to the long-term management plan of a water company. This is a challenging and rewarding task, requiring data gathering, ecological evaluation and report writing to complete the assessment.
Working for a company with an international reach has given me the opportunity to look beyond the UK, and get involved with ecological work around the world. A project I am currently working on involves the design of an innovative biodiversity monitoring plan for a development in the Middle East. This is furthering my knowledge and understanding of international best practice in ecology and conservation, as well as allowing me to actively stay in tune with the field of research and development for ecological monitoring methods. Having a strong interest in international biodiversity conservation, this is an extremely exciting opportunity for me, and one which has been brought about due to the in-house specialists we have in Mott MacDonald.
Beyond work, the variety of opportunities available extends to the range of social events there are to get involved with. This has resulted in me joining the office touch rugby team, making cake for a charitable bake off and partaking in the hugely enjoyable Mott MacDonald sports day. It is the large size and breadth of the company which enables this, and provides the chance to be involved in the delivery of some of the biggest infrastructure projects in the UK. The variety of work opportunities creates a constant interest and challenge, and is allowing me to develop my ecological skills in all my areas of interest.