NatureScot – Working for Scotland’s Nature

Logo: NatureScot
NatureScot booth at an event
Working For Nature – Dynamic Earth STEM Event (Jen Deane)

By Jennifer Deane, Nature Based Skills & Jobs Officer

We read the recently published CIEEM and Lantra research report - ‘Opening up vocational pathways in nature-based green jobs’ with keen interest. At NatureScot we are very aware of the capacity crisis within the ecology sector from our own experience in recruiting for roles and have been actively looking at ways we can attract new talent from additional sources.

Diggers and workmen in  high-vis on a peatland
Peatland ACTION – training – Urlar Site Visit (Anne C Murray)

One of the key points from the paper that we wanted to investigate further was how we can promote the value of existing skills of career changers from outside the nature-based sector.

There are many examples of people in the wider commercial sector changing their career direction in later life due to wanting to find a role that aligns with their core values and bringing with them not only a wealth of maturity and experience, but also a bank of transferable skills which become an asset to their new employer.

Is Conservation seen differently? Do we value these skills in the same way?

My current role is Nature-based Jobs and Skills Officer with NatureScot. As an individual that came to the nature-based sector later in life and having worked primarily in the private sector, NatureScot have provided more personal development opportunities than I could have hoped for.

It would have never occurred to me, as an individual without a science or conservation degree, that I could have worked for a national nature agency. However, as a public facing organisation, NatureScot and other employers in the nature-based sector, frequently find that they benefit from people with good communication and interpersonal skills, leadership and problem-solving skills sets and from a diverse range of backgrounds and lived experiences.

Man sitting on the treads of a digger
Darren – Peatland Contractor (Rowan Aitchison)

Whilst I may not be able to identify every rare plant or animal species (yet!), my commercial background means that I can confidently present environmental issues to a range of audiences, manage projects and organise large scale events. With NatureScot, I’m always learning and developing as an individual.

Woman sitting on a pile of rocks on a mountain in a nature reserve
Craigellachie National Nature Reserve – NatureScot (Jennifer Deane)

I have spoken to rapidly expanding businesses within Peatland Restoration who are actively targeting talented and experienced individuals from other areas and then utilising courses such as SRUC Peatland Restoration Short Course to upskill in specific areas.

Our Working for Nature series also demonstrated this when we spoke to Darren, a Peatland Contractor with a background in gamekeeping. The commitment of the business to providing these upskilling opportunities to its staff creates an enormous sense of loyalty.

I, for one, feel more appreciated by NatureScot because they value the skills and experience that I bring to the role and continue to support and encourage my development and am looking forward to continuing to help support NatureScot’s mission to restore Scotland’s nature.

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Posted On: 15/04/2024

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