Hi, my name is Alex Chadwick, a BSc Geography undergraduate here at Sheffield.
This year I am taking a year out from my studies to work with the Environmental Change Network at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Lancaster as part of a placement that will contribute to a ‘Degree with Employment Experience’. I sought out a placement shortly after the Christmas vacation of second year, applying to several openings that took my interest. After being invited to interview, I was lucky enough to be offered the placement here at CEH. Moreover, I have been particularly lucky to find work experience with a sense of variety in tasks and opportunities, with a good balance between fieldwork, lab work and general duties.
One of my primary tasks is to help the site managers with the long term environmental monitoring at the Moor House NNR in the northern Pennines. On a weekly basis we record meteorological data, take soil, river and air samples as well as intermittently fulfil additional tasks such as kick sampling, vegetation surveys and taking greenhouse gas flux measurements. Besides the fieldwork, I am involved with the chemical and spectral analysis of the samples, data entry as well as several other projects which include the monitoring of the environmental impact of power stations on sensitive ecosystems as well as the use of UAVs to capture high-res EO data for modeling and vegetation classification purposes.
This opportunity has not only bolstered my independence, self confidence and maturity, but strengthened my technical skillset. I have developed skills and gained experiences which will hopefully not only aid me at level 3, but in my future career. Overall, I am thoroughly enjoying working here at CEH and I would wholeheartedly recommend others to pursue a work placement.