Bardsey Island: Work Experience

It’s safe to say that now more than ever young naturalist are thriving. The past couple of years have witnessed the greatest numbers of youth coming out and openly expressing their love for the natural world more than ever before, yet here lies a problem. The vast majority of those with mother natural embedded in the person they are want to go into a line for work from which they can make a difference, educate & inspire the future generations in order to conserve what remains of the natural world. In order to do such work then when the time comes round to searching & applying for university, courses such as Wildlife Conservation, Ecology & Zoology see themselves overwhelmed with applicants and this appears to be an ever increasing problem.  

North End Manxie_edited-1
Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) – The island holds host to over 20,000 pairs of these globally uncommon seabirds; some of which come close to the coast during strong gales.

The way that others such as myself who are currently applying to university, are trying to combat this problem so that we gain a better probability of getting selected to go on course, is to make ourselves stand out from crowd as best we can. There’s many ways one can do in an attempt to do such a thing such as: create a blog, make a name for yourself in the line of work you wish to enter at a younger age, build up a set of contacts, set up Facebook & Twitter accounts that shows you expressing your passion & interest in that subject, be part of an active group that supports and encourages topics that’s you enjoy, the list just never ends. Yet what is unarguably the most vital part of making yourself the one and only applicant the university must accept, is to have had previous experience in the sector you wish to enter.

Bardsey Chough_edited-1
Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocrax) – One of the islands most iconic species that unlike the other residents, isn’t camera shy.

The way that others such as myself who are currently applying to university, are trying to combat this problem so that we gain a better probability of getting selected to go on course, is to make ourselves stand out from crowd as best we can. There’s many ways one can do in an attempt to do such a thing such as: create a blog, make a name for yourself in the line of work you wish to enter at a younger age, build up a set of contacts, set up Facebook & Twitter accounts that shows you expressing your passion & interest in that subject, be part of an active group that supports and encourages topics that’s you enjoy, the list just never ends. Yet what is unarguably the most vital part of making yourself the one and only applicant the university must accept, is to have had previous experience in the sector you wish to enter.

Bardsey Wren_edited-1
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) – Despite the islands small size, due to the ideal habitat and lack of competition, Bardsey Islands holds host to a bonkers 100+ Eurasian Wren territories.

The way that others such as myself who are currently applying to university, are trying to combat this problem so that we gain a better probability of getting selected to go on course, is to make ourselves stand out from crowd as best we can. There’s many ways one can do in an attempt to do such a thing such as: create a blog, make a name for yourself in the line of work you wish to enter at a younger age, build up a set of contacts, set up Facebook & Twitter accounts that shows you expressing your passion & interest in that subject, be part of an active group that supports and encourages topics that’s you enjoy, the list just never ends. Yet what is unarguably the most vital part of making yourself the one and only applicant the university must accept, is to have had previous experience in the sector you wish to enter.

For people such as myself who from the second they knew what they wanted to achieve in life, that equivalates to working within the environment/conservation sector, then sheer quantity & quality of work placements and voluntary experiences on offer is nothing short of unprecedented as it’s extremely unusual for such an area to have such a variety of early opportunities for those within the younger generations to gain access to. The impact that having work experience plays when out on the job market is so significant that now many colleges such as mine have now made it compulsory for all students to undertake a week’s work experience in an industry of their choice.

North End Gannet close-in_edited-1
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) – Despite not being a breeding species to the island, over a hundred can pass the island in a single summer sea watch.

Located on the Wirral where opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts such as myself are far from short: RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, Dee Estuary Wardens, New Ferry Butterfly Park, Wirral Country Park & Port Sunlight River Park are to name but a few of the sites that offer voluntary experiences for people looking to gain experience. At first seemed fairly simple, Just a matter of choosing and arranging for my work placement to be at one of the sites named above, but in the quest of “standing out from the crowd”, I decided it would be wiser to go somewhere and to be educated at a place not many others would think of and venture to an area I hadn’t been to before as I already do vast amounts of voluntary at those sites mentioned; in the end it resulted in getting a two weeks work experience at the Bardsey Island Bird & Field Observatory, located off the shores of the Llyn peninsular, Gwynedd.

The job of the islands bird observatory team is not only to monitor that of bird migration via visual sighting and ringing/banding, but to also study & conserve the populations of key breeding species which grant the island the diverse protection statuses that it holds including SSSI, SBI & NNR. As well as the islands diverse birdlife which ranges from breeding European Storm Petrel, Manx Shearwater & Red-billed Chough to holding host to MEGA rarities like that of Summer Tanager, Eyebrowed Thrush, Rock Bunting & Cretzschmar’s Bunting; Bardsey’s biodiversity on the whole is simply mind blowing with cetaceans (Risso’s, White-sided & Bottlenose Dolphin along with Pilot, Minke & Fin Wale), lichens (Golden-haired, sea ivory & ciliate strap) and plants (Small Adders Tounge & Sharp Rush), all being major players that contributed to the vast amount of protection that the island has.

Located on the Wirral where opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts such as myself are far from short: RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, Dee Estuary Wardens, New Ferry Butterfly Park, Wirral Country Park & Port Sunlight River Park are to name but a few of the sites that offer voluntary experiences for people looking to gain experience. At first seemed fairly simple, Just a matter of choosing and arranging for my work placement to be at one of the sites named above, but in the quest of “standing out from the crowd”, I decided it would be wiser to go somewhere and to be educated at a place not many others would think of and venture to an area I hadn’t been to before as I already do vast amounts of voluntary at those sites mentioned; in the end it resulted in getting a two weeks work experience at the Bardsey Island Bird & Field Observatory, located off the shores of the Llyn peninsular, Gwynedd.

East Side Auk_edited-1
Assorted Auk flock – Masses of auks gather off the shores of the East Side before venturing to their nests on the cliffs above.

The job of the islands bird observatory team is not only to monitor that of bird migration via visual sighting and ringing/banding, but to also study & conserve the populations of key breeding species which grant the island the diverse protection statuses that it holds including SSSI, SBI & NNR. As well as the islands diverse birdlife which ranges from breeding European Storm Petrel, Manx Shearwater & Red-billed Chough to holding host to MEGA rarities like that of Summer Tanager, Eyebrowed Thrush, Rock Bunting & Cretzschmar’s Bunting; Bardsey’s biodiversity on the whole is simply mind blowing with cetaceans (Risso’s, White-sided & Bottlenose Dolphin along with Pilot, Minke & Fin Wale), lichens (Golden-haired, sea ivory & ciliate strap) and plants (Small Adders Tounge & Sharp Rush), all being major players that contributed to the vast amount of protection that the island has.

So then, in terms of making yourself stand out then Bardsey is by all means the place to do it; surveying birds under special protection, chance to experience ringing & various surveying methods, get hands on with general maintenance around the observatory, develop & adjust social skills to fit that according to the groups which visit the island along with demonstrating that you can work amongst a small community on an isolated island. All of which mentioned are things that I went through whilst on my work experience on the Island, I got hands on assisting with Red-billed Chough & seabird censuses that proceeded in me venturing into the heart of the islands seabird colonies: finding nests, dodging dive bombing gulls, handing over the chicks to the ringers and releasing the adults with in addition to all of thee above, getting more hands on than I was expecting with the island Manx Shearwaters. Such experiences are ones that you’ll never forget and are vital in today’s advancing and ever more competitive job market; this is why I cannot emphasise the fact that the sooner you know what you want to go into, the more experience you gain before applying for a post, the more you’ll shine.

Thanks for reading,

Elliot.

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One thought on “Bardsey Island: Work Experience

  1. Charles Farnell says:

    Hello Elliot, I linked in following your gannet shot at Hilbre ( very nice ) .Your experience on Bardsey should be helpful and has taken me back to the very enjoyable times I spent there, visiting there for the first time in 1962. No head helmets or ropes when “shearwatering” at night on the East Side in those days!! ( health & safety / risk assessment ???)
    In the meantime may I wish you every success with your applications to university and a successful career in your chosen subject.
    regards
    Charles Farnell

    Like

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