Each year the GWCT hosts undergraduate students on ecology, conservation and IT-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.
Sandwich placements for the 2021/22 academic year have now been filled.
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; work with and care of pointing dogs; laboratory work; data handling, analysis and reporting; database construction; experimental design; GIS; and radio telemetry work.
Previous IT 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 IT 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…
Tamara Spivey (Scottish Lowlands)
VIDEO Ellen Knight (Farmland Ecology)
I’ve had a fantastic year working in the Farmland Ecology Unit at the Trust. The placement has allowed me to work on a variety of projects, from spending days walking around farms catching bumblebees to surveying woodlands for woodcock. Despite not being at university, I’ve probably learnt as much, if not more than any other year of my degree.
Coming to the Trust threw me in the deep end of working for a research organisation, and the level of trust I’ve received to carry out independent work has been brilliant. Throughout my year I’ve had the opportunity to hone my insect identification skills in the lab, head out all over the country on fieldwork, practise my stats and report-writing in a real-life context, and even help organise projects for the department.
Doing this placement has allowed me to gain perspective on why I’m studying my degree and has helped me grow not just as a scientist but as a person. I would highly recommend that any student looking at a career in ecological research should apply for this placement.
Kit Lawson (GIS and Wetlands)
My placement at the Trust was split between the GIS and Wetlands departments; this allowed me to develop a range of office and fieldwork skills. Working on a variety of projects such estate mapping on ArcGIS and monitoring predators using camera traps for the LIFE Waders for Real project has been both interesting and rewarding.
The researchers are eager to share their knowledge with the students as well as welcoming an extra pair of hands for hare counts and woodcock surveys. I have very much enjoyed my placement at the Trust and feel that it will be invaluable for my final year at university and jobs thereafter.
Elouise Mayall (Farmland Wildlife Conservation Research and GIS)
As a PARTRIDGE student I have gained skills that one would expect from a conservation placement: science communication, off-road driving, and different survey techniques as well as experience in GIS, qualitative and quantitative analysis.
On top of that, I also had the privilege of visiting four other countries during my placement, including an incredible trip to Romania to compare agricultural practices and form new partnerships. Yet what I will miss the most from my time here is the inspiring and passionate people at the Trust and the PARTRIDGE project who are happy to share their knowledge and experience with you every step of the way.