My job role is Landscape Manager at the multi-disciplinary practice The Environment Partnership (TEP) in the Gateshead office. The main office is in Warrington where they deal with a wide range of projects, my office mainly deals with work from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the government national housing and regeneration agency for England. TEP manage sites on the HCA’s behalf, so most of the work involves site inspections, report writing and dealing with contractors. We make sure that the sites are being maintained as per schedules and contracts, deal with any issues such as trespass and damage to any buildings on the sites.
My role so far has been more office based, I was brought in as I had good GIS and other computer skills. I have been creating GIS maps that show landscape management treatments for the sites and for technical and engineering features, which are then used to support management schedules for contractors or used in tender packages. The Warrington office has more diverse range of work, such as design and planning, though we have recently changed the team structures so there is scope for that work in the Gateshead office in future.
I did the conversion course, entering with a degree in Environmental Management so with some relevant background. What did the course teach me?: GIS and the other computer packages (AutoCAD, Adobe Creative Suite) were instrumental in getting this job. I didn’t know any of them when I started. I kept practicing and it was all worth it! Firstly it helped me to create a portfolio that got me interviews, and then the job. I also learnt about stressful situations and deadlines! I think I learnt more in the 2 years I was on the course than I ever have previously. Of course there I choices that I’d change but hindsight is like that!
If like me you need to work part-time to support yourself, be realistic! I worked 21 hrs a week whilst studying, which looking back was too much. I couldn’t put the effort into my assignments that I know I should of, or was capable of. There wasn’t time to do the background reading and research that makes a good assignment into a great assignment.
My advice is:
- Play to your strengths, but acknowledge and try to improve your weaknesses.
- Keep applying for jobs, the right one isn’t always obvious!
Good luck and enjoy it!