Don't be afraid of contacting companies directly to ask for a placement

Amanda shows students field notebook
Tom Humphries
Placement at Eden Rivers Trust
BSc Geography
Tom Humphries' placement with Eden Rivers Trust has given him a wide range of experience.

My placement with the Eden Rivers Trust has so far given me a wide range of experience in habitat surveying, river restoration and natural flood management techniques, as well as knowledge of project management and budgeting. I chose to do a placement year in the hope of boosting my employability, gaining valuable experience in a sector I am interested in as well as gaining further experience in a professional working environment. 

I had completed some short term work experience with a separate rivers trust about 3 years ago, and was intrigued by the work they did in the area. No official placement was advertised but after contacting the head of conservation we managed to agree a contract. I certainly think it is worth contacting smaller companies even if they do not have an official placement program, as the worst they can say is no and will often point you in the direction of other opportunities. 

Core hours are 9:30-4:30. Typically for one half of the day at the minute I will be working on my natural flood management project: I am contacting landowners and county councils to discuss designs for how best to reduce the erosion damage being caused. The second half of the day I will often be out on site either looking at a current project under construction with the project manager, or conducting habitat and eDNA surveys within the catchment. 

There has been plenty of GIS work mapping projects and various sample sites so the experience gained from the level 2 GIS module has been very useful. 

The main skills I believe I have gained from my placement are confidence in contacting landowners, knowledge of natural flood management techniques as well as landscape scale conservation. 

My main advice would be to not be afraid of contacting companies directly asking them if a placement is something they are able to offer if even if not advertised.

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