During the June to August period Forestry & Land Scotland (FLS) hosted four ladies on student placements through the Equate programme Careerwise. This is the second year of hosting placements in support of Careerwise that is designed to support women into Science, Engineering and Technology roles.

Within the National Land Management Team, Kenny Kortland (National Wildlife Ecologist) hosted one ecology placement (Hannah Humphreys) and the planning support team hosted three GIS & Data Placements (Jenny Holdsworth, Millie Coleman & the returning Summer Hannah).

As well as gaining a wide range of practical experience in their respective fields, they spend time shadowing a range of staff around FLS to get wider flavour of the organisation and the huge range of work our staff are involved in day to day. Thank you to all the regional or national staff that were involved in hosting visits and supporting our students this year.

Here’s what this years’ students had to say about their experience with us this year.

Summer Hannah (GIS & Data Placement)

“I was delighted to be asked back for my second summer with the Planning Support Team. This summer I’ve been working on analysing spatial Capercaillie data with Hannah Humphreys, (the Careerwise Ecology Student Placement), creating heat maps of peat depth and helping to make a mobile Crossing Point survey for the North region using Collector. I have learnt a lot more about GIS than I did from my University courses and I am really enjoying using GIS from a forestry point of view. I’m delighted to be staying with FLS for a while longer to support the national mechanical engineering team.”

Jenny Holdsworth (GIS & Data placement)

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 3 months working for FLS. I have had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects such as creating a civil review survey using survey123, analysing wildfire and squirrel stronghold data and creating a variety of mobile surveys, maps and dashboards.

In particular, I have enjoyed working with Alan Gale to continuously update the SPHN layer in Forester Web and creating the end of month dashboard. Another highlight of the summer has been the field days that we were able to go on. This allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the different jobs throughout FLS and what is involved in them.

I am confident that all the skills I have learned will help me in my last year at university and in my future career.”

Millie Coleman (GIS & Data Placement):

“This placement has taught me so many things. I have learnt to use lots of new applications and tools in GIS that will continue to assist me in my final year at university and beyond. The experience of working in an office environment and with a team of colleagues also allowed me to learn more about  potential careers after university and very importantly the skills I would need to pursue them. I very much enjoyed the variety of projects I worked on and of course the variety of people I got to work with as a result.

 Thanks very much again to you and the others for allowing me to have this great experience.”

Hannah Humphreys (Ecology Placement):

“I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with the FLS environment team over summer.  I was involved in a range of applied ecology projects such as trialling pine marten deterrents on artificial nests, saproxylic beetle sampling and scat collection.  When not in the field I was collating data and collaborated with Summer Hannah who used the data to map capercaille in the NFE.

I believe that the practical skills gained throughout my placement such as experimental design and the testing of ecological concepts will be extremely useful in both my final year at university and forward to pursuing a career in science.”

Thank you to our students this year for their hard work and enthusiasm in the projects they were involved in. We’ll be looking to host further placements in 2020. To read more about Equate Scotland and Careerwise please take a look at the Equate website. To get a flavour of what’s involved in organising summer student placements in FLS through Equate please feel free to contact James Fletcher.