Training & Development

BSG Ecology Director of Health and Safety Richard Wilks has recently completed an internal programme of training aimed at further developing the health and safety culture of the company. Richard’s training included examples from a variety of industries that demonstrated that irrespective of the quality of systems, not all risks can be engineered out of the work environment. To minimise the risk of incidents occurring at BSG Ecology, it is therefore important to build on our systems and the training we provide to foster a staff culture in which individuals see the health and safety of themselves and of others as a core element of their job, an area in which they set themselves high standards, and in which they expect high standards from their colleagues.
On 14 March 2019 BSG Ecology, Womble Bond Dickinson and Scottish Power Renewables collaborated to deliver a seminar to wind farm developers and asset managers on the implications of recent guidance concerning bats and onshore wind farms published by Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England and Natural Resources Wales. This was the second of two planned seminars on the subject, and took place at the Citizen M Hotel in central Glasgow.
Steve Betts, BSG Ecology Partner, led a biodiversity offsetting and net gain seminar to a large audience of developers and planning consultants in Newcastle on 27 February 2019. A key aim of the session was to share learning and promote good practice. The session set out a brief history of biodiversity offsetting and net gain in England and provided an overview of planning policy, which currently varies both locally and nationally.
As many of our ecologists are actively working towards bat survey licences or assist in bat survey work, we run in-house training to address typical gaps in their knowledge and experience. The training also helps ensure that our bat fieldwork is of a very high standard, and our commercial work is robust. The latest of these training events was a two day course held in our Oxford office in February 2019.
We are regularly approached by students and recent graduates keen to understand the skills they need to pursue a career in consultancy work. The following short article summarises, from our perspective, areas in which some basic experience is likely to be advantageous in securing an ecologist (entry-level) position.
In October 2017, three staff from BSG’s Oxford office spent a day with national stonewort expert Nick Stewart[1], brushing up on their identification skills.
We are regularly approached by students and recent graduates keen to understand the skills they need to pursue a career in consultancy work. The following short article summarises, from our perspective, areas in which some basic experience is likely to be advantageous in securing an ecologist (entry-level) position.
In April 2016 staff from around the practice assembled at our Oxford office for specialist training on badger survey, mitigation and monitoring. The training was delivered by Penny Lewns of Protected Species Ecology. Penny has over twenty five years of experience working with badgers and development and has authored publications on the status of the badger in Britain, techniques for surveying badgers, monitoring populations and estimating the impact of past persecution on the numbers of badgers. She has held 400 badger licences across the UK, and is one of the most experienced badger specialists in the country.
On 4 February 2015 BSG Ecologists Jim Fairclough and Hannah Bilston delivered a half day seminar on Protected Species¹ to The Parks Trust², the independent charity that owns and cares for many of the parks and green spaces in Milton Keynes.  This green space adds up to approximately 5,000 acres of river valleys, woodlands, lakesides, parks and landscaped areas alongside the main roads – about 25 percent of the new city area.
BSG Ecology is committed to tackling complex ecological issues successfully for our clients. We recognise that experience, skill and knowledge within our team are important in producing these results. All of our ecologists are members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), membership of which requires a minimum amount of continuous professional development to be completed each year. Regular investment in our team, through support of conference attendance and provision of access to in-house and external training, strengthens our skills set and provides an up to date and scientifically sound basis to our advice.