Finding the perfect placement
We first spoke to Seniz during her second year of studying on our Ecology and Conservation BSc(Hons). And caught up with her more recently to find out if she managed to find a placement playing to her interests in ecology and education.
I heard about my placement from my placement officer, who sent many different placements to look at. So I had the option to filter through and find which ones in particular suited me!
I am doing my placement at the Field Studies Council (FSC) Flatford Mill. My roles is as a Higher Education Student Placement, which is a broad title for doing multiple different things. So this might be supporting tutors teaching (or later on teach myself) classes all the way from primary school to biology/ geography a-level students, or helping with the running of the centre and completing a project entirely of my own choosing. I also get the opportunity to use the centre to complete research for my dissertation in third year.
As of now I have completed two weeks of training at FSC Millport (on the Isle of Cumbrae), which was absolutely fantastic, and started my first week at my centre down in Flatford (Suffolk).
The most helpful thing I have brought to my placement from my lectures, is definitely remembering identification skills, being able to spot local animals is always fun. It also comes in handy when teaching biology content. And I’ve really learned things are what you make of them. Really get out there and look around, during my time in Scotland I got to cycle round the whole Isle of Cumbrae! So just be adventurous, be sociable and enthusiastic!
Getting a placement I feel will make a massive difference for when I apply for jobs. This is because ecology itself is a very competitive field, and more and more people are pursuing the field (which is great!). To be able to say to an employer that I have already worked in the field, and with all the experience I will have gained will absolutely put me at a better position. This is all in the case that in a placement you work hard and take all the opportunities that you can, it is after all what you make of it.
I would say the highlight of my course so far has been the experiences. Unfortunately we have been limited in the last year, but in my first year I visited FSC Preston Montford with my course. We all went hiking, did mammal trapping, but it allowed myself to familiarise myself with a potential career opportunity i.e. outdoor learning. It just so happens I am now on a placement year with the FSC!
I would recommend my course to anyone who has a passion for both animals and the environment. What people don’t expect is ecology is a massive subject, there’s so many areas to learn from. All the way from marine conservation to evolution studies to microbiology. It covers a lot, so you will be able to identify your niche that you want to pursue as a career.
I chose Brighton because I loved the city, I had visited a handful of times and was certain this was the area I wanted to be. I then found my course, which is not as common as the others but was a perfect fit. I always say ecology is essentially like the mid-ground between zoology and environmental sciences, the best of both worlds!