During her two weeks Katie worked with the Ranger team helping them in maintaining the park. This involved carrying out a couple of practical tasks to help protect the landscape, such as footpath relaying and tree felling in forestry areas. Katie also made several visits to Walltown Crags, a disused quarry site that is now open to visitors, and wrote a management plan for assessing how the site can be improved to become more appealing to visitors.
“The placement has improved my self-confidence. I have gained an understanding of different practical methods and various aspects involved in environmental land management. I can show prospective employers at interviews that I have taken the time to research the industry and the type of work involved in environmental management, which will help to increase my chance of a job offer”
Katie Hickling (MSci Geography, 1st Year)
Northumberland National Park Authority
“The financial support offered by the University is crucial. It allows University of Birmingham students to undertake adventurous work placements and internships within the UK and all around the world. For many students, like myself, these placements would prove to be too costly to be funded entirely by personal expense. Therefore, your fantastic support ensures that students can take up opportunities that will be of huge benefit to their future career plans and allow them to follow the career path of their choice.”
Katie went on patrol with the rangers round the main visitor sites and took part in planning meeting for National Parks week, helping to plan events that would encourage more people to visit NNP, in particular young people. The second block of her placement involved stewarding and assisting in the running of these events. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Katie’s placement was the variety in the work she undertook. She found this stimulating and challenging; allowing her to use some of the knowledge had gained during the first year of her degree.
Katie also enjoyed the opportunity to travel around Northumberland National park and found the isolated moorland landscape inspiring. Katie developed a number of skills during the placement, including teamwork and leadership in a professional work place setting. She learnt the importance of delegating tasks within the team to the people with the most appropriate experience for the task, allowing the team to work effectively. Having a welcoming and friendly team also helped Katie immensely in fitting in and completing her placement.
“The work experience bursary has helped reduce the considerable personal expense of transport and accommodation that the placement required. As a result I have been able to undertake valuable work experience that will be hugely beneficial to my future career plans”
Northumberland National Park – Southern Operations Ranger Team commented:
“It has been a pleasure having Katie working with us this week. Her work on the Walltown Crags site has been hugely beneficial to us and will allow us to plan how we can encourage young people to visit the National Park in the future “