Each year the GWCT hosts undergraduate students on ecology, conservation and data science-related degrees, offering them an exciting opportunity to spend their sandwich placement year taking part in important game and wildlife conservation research. Placements are based at both our headquarters at Fordingbridge in Hampshire and at numerous outstations and long-term projects across Britain.
The Trust has sandwich placements available to students in the 2024/25 academic year:
HOW TO APPLY
We encourage and expect our students to play a full and active part in our research, and therefore a placement with the GWCT is an opportunity to challenge yourself in the field. Our placements present opportunities to expand your experience in such areas as surveying birds and habitats; catching and tagging individuals; working with and care of pointing dogs; laboratory work; data handling, analysis and reporting; database construction; experimental design; GIS; and radio telemetry work.
Previous data science students have brought some of our old databases into the modern SQL era and helped with manipulating and displaying information from satellite-tagged woodcock as part of our Woodcock Watch project, while another developed a crowd-sourced method to identify species from camera trap photos. This is a great opportunity to acquire skills that are increasingly desirable in the field of data science and its application in a scientific environment.
For some first-hand experience of what student life with the Trust is like, some current and past students reflect on how they spent the year…
Kimberley Holmes (Uplands)
During my time with the Uplands research team, I have been involved in several of the Trust’s ongoing projects, including some long-term monitoring experiments. The experience has given me many new skills, such as off-road driving and using GIS software. I have especially enjoyed learning more about how field experiments are designed and developing my own project to look at how heather cutting affects moorland vegetation.
Living and working in the North Pennines is one of the best parts of the placement. The wildlife here is incredible and there are so many different species to be found whilst out on fieldwork. Throughout my placement, I have been constantly challenged and I shall return to university with a newfound confidence and a much better understanding of what scientific research actually involves.
Thomas Bristow (GIS)
From the first dawn partridge count to the last Teams meeting, my placement at the GWCT has been full of so many exciting new experiences. During the placement I have had the privilege to be involved in exciting conservation projects, such as carrying out partridge and hare surveys for the Interreg North Sea Region PARTRIDGE project and attending the Life+ Waders for Real conference. I have also learned about how the conservation, research and farming sectors work, and how they are changing due to political and environmental pressures.
I was able to utilise my statistical and GIS skills and develop my programming skills on R, Python and VBA along the way. I am glad I was able to support the work of the GWCT, particularly at a difficult time for the conservation sector. There is such a friendly team atmosphere, particularly within the placement student cottages, which made the whole year so fun. I would thoroughly recommend the placement to any student wanting to go into conservation and research.
Alex Donovan (Uplands)
Working in the Uplands department has been an interesting time, with a good mix of field, lab and office work. I’ve learned a lot of practical skills during my time here that will no doubt help me in the future, from various surveying techniques to off-road driving and using QGIS. I chose this as I enjoy fieldwork and getting out into nature, and I certainly haven’t been disappointed.
A highlight has definitely been black grouse counts during the spring when they are lekking, where males strut around displaying their tail feathers to show off to the females. They are quite a charming bird and a pleasure to see, even if I did have to get up before dawn to go find them!
During my time here, I’ve also started photography as a hobby. Taking my camera on fieldwork has allowed me to take some photos of the beautiful landscapes and animals around; it’s always exciting to find an adder, common lizard or owl while out.
Working with the Trust has been such a valuable experience that will greatly benefit my future studies and work. I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interesting in working in ecology.
How to apply
Applications close on 5 January 2024 unless stated otherwise. It may be possible to submit a late application, though this is at the discretion of the contact.
Interested students should get the following to the contact person listed on the advert as soon as possible:
- CV detailing A levels and GCSEs – results and subjects; as well as any graded results at university that the students have up to the date they send us their CV. Include information on any paid or volunteer activities to show both interest in science and responsibility to job or volunteer commitments.
- Covering letter (describe what they want out of the placement and what skills they bring to it – this needs to give us some idea of why they should stand out from the crowd – we really use this to select interviewees).
- References from a lecturer or tutor sent to the contact person on the advert directly.
If students would like to discuss the placement, they should contact the named individual on the advert.
Please note that all sandwich placements need to be filled by individuals on a recognised sandwich programme or equivalent, while the individuals are enrolled at a university, working towards their undergraduate degree.