Name: Sophie Wild
Year of graduation: 2014
Company: Environment Agency
Job Title: Personal Secretary
I studied BSc Bioveterinary Science at the University of Lincoln, basing my dissertation of sea turtle reproductive ecology. I have an interest in wildlife, endangered species in particular. I also have an interest in livestock systems, and how these can exist alongside wildlife.
I have recently graduated from Newcastle University with an MSc in Wildlife Management. Incorporating my interest in animal health into my studies, I carried out research into vaccination programmes to vaccinate badgers against Bovine tb, a huge problem facing the farming industry today. This dissertation is to be included in a report for Defra this year.
Work Experience and interests
I have a passion for the natural world, and how it can co-exist with modern life. I have done voluntary work in a sea turtle rehabilitation centre in Kenya, travelled to Honduras for three weeks as a volunteer research assistant, and also worked as a trainee veterinary nurse for a year before my Masters. I have also completed free courses which I found through Facebook. I am a trained marine mammal surveyor, amphibian surveyor, and I have recently completed a course to be a Grey Seal warden on a nature reserve close to where I live in Newcastle. It is these experiences which have really added to my CV and opened up opportunities for me
Apart from the environment, I also enjoy cooking and creating recipes. I set up a food blog last year which has become very popular.
I came to be in my current role as during my masters, I worked part time in a visitor centre for Northumberland Wildlife Trust. Working for the Wildlife Trust’s, a nationally recognized organization, made me realise that I wanted to be involved in not only local conservation issues, but national ones too. My masters was run jointly by the School of Biology at Newcastle and the National Wildlife Management Centre (NWMC) at Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). It was through my masters that I found out about jobs at Defra and the Environment Agency
In my current role, I act as personal secretary for three area environment managers covering Fisheries, Biodiversity, and Geomorphology and also Waste Management. My role is basically to support these managers.
- Managing diaries
- Organizing meetings and travel
- Attending meetings and taking notes
- Liaising with other organisations such as the Marine Management Organisations, local councils, and occasionally Defra
- Going out on site to view things like new flood defenses, waste disposal sites, and farms and fisheries
- Responding to license applications
My organization provides some excellent benefits, these include:
- A permanent 37 hour contract with flexi hours
- I am part of a sports and social group, which offer excellent discounts on events such as rugby and football matches
- Very supportive regarding holidays
- Organised training with a lot of support from other members of the team
- Competitive salary
- Work laptop and ability to work from home if needed
- Sports and leisure on site including pilates
- Lots of opportunities to expand. I have become part of the incident response team and am also part of an Invasive Species action group
Using University of Lincoln's Career Services
I did use the careers service once as I tried to find out if there were any ways I could get funding to go to Veterinary School. The advice I received was useful, although I soon realized that this wasn’t what I really wanted to do. With some niche areas of interest such as wildlife conservation, you really need to use your initiative and find things yourself
Best Career Advice
My main bit of advice for job seekers and graduates is to expand your knowledge in as many ways as possible. Take part in voluntary work at weekends. I have been successful in jobs in something I am passionate about because I have stuck with it, and surrounded myself with like minded people. I’ve gained both friends, and good memories through taking part in voluntary work. Your degree will put you in a great position, but relevant experience adds another dynamic to your profile
Another piece of advice would be that if you are passionate about something, be patient and a job will come up for you. Don’t move away from what you are interested in just to earn some quick money. It’ll be worth it in the long run. After all, you’ll spend a lot of time at work so you might as well love it!
A third piece of advice would be to network as much as possible. Social media is such a powerful tool that it would be silly not to use it as there is so much information available. Join some Twitter and Facebook groups based on your subject area. For example, I follow local nature pages. These can include not only photos and information about what is going on in the area, they also include free courses coming up, or meet ups for members. This is brilliant to add to your CV