Livvy works as an Assistant Ecologist for global firm Arup

Livvy, IWB student

Livvy is a BSc (Hons) International Wildlife Biology graduate and now works as an Assistant Ecologist at Arup. She tells us more about her job, what her favourite moments of the course were and her plans for the future.

Can you describe a typical day in your current role?
“The majority of my role at the moment involves equipment management for ecological surveys – typically sourcing and ordering any new kit that is needed, and auditing/maintaining current kit. I really enjoy this as I get to test out a lot of new technology such as bat detectors, which also means I’m typically the person to come to if anyone needs to learn how to use a new piece of kit or software. I also manage the data returned from ecological surveys and get to assist on surveys for protected species such as badgers and great crested newts where time allows.”

How has the qualification helped in your career?
There’s no doubt that this course has equipped me with the skills I need for a career in conservation or ecology. There was so much practical experience which has really appealed to employers because they know that I have understanding of working in the field and a combination of theoretical and more ‘hands-on’ skills. I have definitely improved my soft skills such as organisation and communication through university too – you are learning how to balance quite intensive workloads and are assessed through exams, lab sessions, essays, presentations, tests and so on.

So, what’s next?
I plan on working towards my bat licence and other protected species licences through building up experience on commercial ecological surveys in the UK. These licences can really help with employability and career progression in ecology as they allow you to carry out enhanced surveys of legally protected species, such as hibernation roost surveys for bats

What influenced you to choose the BSc (Hons) International Wildlife Biology?
After a successful field trip to Madagascar to volunteer on an Operation Wallacea expedition as a sixth form student, I realised that I wanted to study biology and wildlife conservation. The BSc (Hons) International Wildlife Biology was perfect for me and completely unique, with so many opportunities to study abroad and gain real-world practical experience.” 

Which experiences on your course stood out the most and why?
So many of the lecturers on this course are very supportive, and put real effort into making their lectures engaging. I feel that it’s a real advantage to have such a small course size as you get to know your lecturers really well.

My favourite experience has to be a stand-out moment from our field trip to South Africa, where we were lucky enough to watch a pack of African wild dogs make a kill right inside our base camp. Wild dogs are incredibly rare and few people get to see them at all, so to witness them in their element as a hunting pack was a true privilege that I will remember for the rest of my life. The trip itself had quite an intense workload (with the best part of two modules completed in five weeks in the field) but that moment gave us all the inspiration we needed to do well.

Where did you live while at University?
During first year I lived in Mountain Halls, on the Pontypridd Campus, Treforest, which I really enjoyed. I got very lucky with my housemates and was good friends with all of them. Staying in halls allowed me to meet other students from different faculties who I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. In my flat there was a real mixture of subjects – law, biology, sport and nursing. After that I moved into a house with some of my course mates, which I really enjoyed as we got on well due to similar interests and could help each other with coursework and revision a lot.