Trainee Ecologist x2


Bridgwater, Somerset
c.£18,000 - £22,000 pa

Paid • Full Time • Permanent

Sectors: ecology

Closing date: Friday, 2nd February 2018  


AEcol is a small ecological consultancy based in Bridgwater, Somerset.

We specialise solely in services to the minerals industry. Most of our work is in support of Mineral Planning Applications, but we also do a great deal of ecological management and compliance monitoring.

You can find details of the work we do on our website

In order that we continue to offer the highest standard of service to our clients, we are recruiting two trainee ecologists in 2018. Subject to the satisfactory completion of a six-month probationary period, these positions will lead to permanent roles in the consultancy.


The role of a trainee ecologist comprises both office and field duties.

In the office trainee ecologists assist with the assessment of the impacts that potential new quarries and existing operations may have on biodiversity. In addition, the work includes collation and review of evidence in order that the consultancy can solve problems and provide meaningful advice.

In the field trainee ecologists assist with botanical, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal surveys.

As we cover an area broadly from the west midlands across to Norfolk, down to Kent and across to Wales there is a lot of driving, and this is shared.

From April to October survey teams are frequently on the road for three days and two nights at a time. Upon occasion, they may be out for the entirety of the working week. During these trips there are times when the team must operate in a mentally and/or physically stressful environment. In addition, the working day does not typically conform to regular hours, and whilst sufficient down-time is provided to ensure staff are safe to drive, the working period may comprise late afternoon into late night, or all night. Time Off In Lieu (T.O.I.L) is provided to recompense worked hours above the contractual obligation.

The company provides all out-door clothing and survey equipment. The company also provides vehicles.

In order that standards are maintained, in the first year trainees are given in-house training within a structured framework. In the second year trainees are expected to attend FSC and CIEEM courses for which the company pays. These courses are often over weekends and this is time the trainee is expected to accept (i.e. it is not offset by T.O.I.L). In addition, trainees are also expected to do a good deal of home-study in order that they achieve the required survey licenses in a timely manner, and develop analytical skills. Self-motivation is therefore essential and satisfactory completion of the mandatory six-month probation will depend upon demonstration of progress. Progression is, however, financially incentivised; the more a trainee learns, the more they earn.

The main duties of a trainee ecologist are set out below.

Office duties

In the office the main duties of a trainee ecologist comprise: -

Answering the phone: Acting as first point of contact; filtering calls; taking messages; and, presenting a confident and well-mannered image to the public.
Runner: Performing filing; copying; copy-typing; and, information gathering for the management team (including commission of data-searches).
Maintenance: Taking vehicles for repair/servicing; and, cleaning/maintaining survey equipment.
Procurement: Buying sundry equipment (such as hardware for installations, batteries for electrical equipment etc.); buying tools and materials; and, purchasing office stationary.
Administration: Filing field-notes; downloading site photographs; and, processing personal expenses.
Facilitation: Performing Risk Assessments; arranging site access permissions; booking hotels; and, creating survey base-maps.
Archiving: Transferring completed cases from the case-files into archive boxes; and, updating the archive list.
Data entry: Downloading ultrasound data from manual and automated detectors; and, backing-up office PC’s.
Identification, analysis & interpretation: Analysing Phase 1 survey data to assign alpha-numeric codes; performing structure-based predictive faunal assessments; interpretation of data-search results (including entry into template reports); and, analysing ultrasound survey data to identify species and interpret final results.
Reporting: Completion of template reports; producing figures, maps and plans for inclusion within reports; proof-reading final reports for typographical and/or formatting errors and sense; printing; and, binding reports for postage.
Study: Reading prescribed texts; familiarising yourself with equipment and survey methods; producing descriptive ‘guidebook’ text for your own use in the field; and, botanical identification practice.
Shared housekeeping: Dusting own desk and shared vacuuming of the office as required.

Field duties

In the field the duties of trainee ecologist comprise: -

Assisting: Phase 1 habitat surveys; hedgerow surveys; veteran tree assessments; River Habitat Surveys; invertebrate surveys; amphibian surveys; reptile surveys; bird surveys; bat surveys; badger surveys; dormouse surveys; water-vole surveys; and, otter surveys.
Runner: Carrying ladders etc.; deploying survey equipment (under instruction); collecting deployed survey equipment; collecting equipment from vehicles and taking it to survey teams; and, acting as a ‘go-between’ between field-teams.
Driving: Sharing in driving.

Premises: Unit 14B, The Avenue, High Street, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 3BW.

Hours: 40 hours per week.

Salary: Salary in the range £18-22,000 subject to desirable qualifications, attributes and ability.

Holiday: 20 days holiday during each holiday year in addition to all English statutory public holidays.

Pension: The government pension scheme is provided, with contributions based on salary.




  • A degree in a relevant biological discipline; and
  • A full, clean UK driving licence (up to 3 penalty points may be accepted).


  • An MSc in any relevant biological discipline;
  • Membership of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (any grade);
  • A Field Identification Skills Certificate (any level);
  • CS38 - Tree Climbing and Aerial Rescue Level 2; and/or
  • Any protected species survey licence.



  • A cheerful disposition and robust sense of humour;
  • Resilience (the capacity to recover quickly from set-backs and criticism);
  • Self-motivation;
  • Determination;
  • Responsible attitude (for yourself and your mistakes, for company equipment, and for the safety of all your colleagues);
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • A disciplined approach to punctuality;
  • Tidy and professional appearance (hair brushed, clothes ironed and shoes polished); and
  • A high level of physical fitness.

All the above will be vital if the six-month probation is to be successfully completed.


  • A good head for heights.



  • Ability to write in clear and grammatical English;
  • Touch-typing (at the very least, competent typing rather than the ‘two-fingered’ approach); and
  • Competence in the use of Excel including the use of formulas in calculations.


  • Phase 1 habitat survey (it will be an advantage if the candidate has read the handbook and understands the basic method);
  • Botanical survey (it will be an advantage if the candidate owns an identification text and can demonstrate that they are actively attempting to learn);
  • Protected species survey experience;
  • QGIS experience; and/or
  • Team management.


Applicants should email a completed application form, a CV and a covering letter (no more than one side of A4). The closing date for applications is Friday 2nd February 2018.

Your CV should simply set out your qualifications and any past employment.

We are looking for someone who can be entirely impartial and objective. The covering letter should demonstrate the candidate’s sincerity in three paragraphs: -

  1. Objectivity;
  2. Honesty; and
  3. Reliability.

Please keep the content minimal and resist the urge to regale us with a gushing self-assessment of your character. The word ‘passion’ anywhere in the letter will see your application discarded.

Please mention when responding to this ad.