2022 Awards Winners Spotlight: University Programme / Department of the Year

Level 3 Award in Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation – Kingston Maurward College

This award was sponsored by:

Countryside Jobs Service - CIEEM Award Sponsors

This programme seeks to balance the importance of theoretical and practical disciplines across themes of ecology, habitat management, legislation, estate skills/machinery use, science communication and wildlife identification.

The course provides students with practical training in Phase 1 and NVC surveys, support of smooth snake/sand lizard surveys (under licence), water vole surveys, moth trapping, butterfly transects, brush cutting and chainsaw use. For this work, the college has access to a unique diversity of habitats over a 800 acre estate including water meadows, freshwater lakes, chalk streams, woodlands, hedgerows and arable land, and has agreements to use partners’ ancient woodland and lowland heath, both within a short walk of campus.

Work placements are a mandatory element, with students needing to complete 465 hours across two years. Host employers include Wildlife Trusts, National Trust, Local Authorities, Countryside Restoration Trust, private estates and farms.

Within 2021/22, over 20 guest speakers from different disciplines within ecology and environmental management spoke to the cohort, for example, the Project Manager of Wild Woodbury delivered a talk with a follow up site visit by students and the students received training from Dorset’s Riverfly Monitoring Scheme Coordinator.

In addition to the more traditional ecology and environmental management topics, units in Interpretation and Managing Volunteers highlight the importance of nature to people’s physical and mental wellbeing, and the opportunities that exist to widen participation in both access to nature and the sector itself, to those from broad socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Students are encouraged to consider accessibility and inclusion from the start of their careers.

All lecturers who have come from industry to deliver the course are supported with Level 5 teacher training and the department is currently applying for corporate membership of the Countryside Management Association. All staff within the college are invited to listen to guest speakers from other disciplines i.e. those who teach agriculture joined conservation students in listening to the community rewilding project taking place on a former farm. The Course Manager is a qualified (Level 6) Careers Advisor, with over 20 years in the ecology sector, having received the Alumni of the Year Award (2018) from his University for supporting people into careers in conservation and ecology. The principles from his experience and previous work are embedded within the course, including identification of soft skills required within industry and personal plans to support students with these.

We will be posting further information on each of the 2022 CIEEM Awards Winners over on our blog.