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.
All our placements for the 2018/19 academic year are now full.
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, a couple of last year’s students reflect on how they spent the year…
Peter Wood (GIS/Predation)
My placement at the Trust has been fantastic. While here I have learnt lots, from GIS skills to field and lab work techniques, many of which will definitely be put to use in the third year of my degree. The work I have done has been wide-ranging, from mapping the distribution of UK deer species to analysing fox scats to establish their diet. The staff here are keen to help you learn new skills and there are many other opportunities outside of work to learn, whether it be a lab session determining the energy stored within woodcock tissues or hare surveys and land management.
Ruth Highley (Scottish Demonstration Farm)
During my placement with the GWCT on the Scottish Demonstration Farm I have had experience of the day-to-day research carried out on the farm. This included breeding bird surveys, raptor monitoring, rabbit surveys, and carrying out grass measurements and camera trap surveys for the EU LIFE Laser Fence project. I have also had some practical experience helping out on the farm, rabbit-proofing fences and helping with the sheep shearing. The GWCT has also sent me on training courses, including a butterfly and moth course and a bumblebee identification day. I would not hesitate to recommend this placement to any student interested in gaining practical outdoor research experience.