Jodie Case – FdSc Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (Top up to BSc)
Before joining Sparsholt I had been a legal secretary for 10 years, so started my course as a mature student. I decided to join Sparsholt as I had previously completed the Animal Management course in my younger years and have always had fond memories of the campus. I reached a point in my life where I wanted a career change and had always been fascinated by nature – quitting the full-time job felt like a bit of a leap of faith, but I decided to head for a career in conservation, and I’m so glad I did as I haven’t looked back since!
The three year Wildlife Ecology and Conservation course was quite an emotional roller-coaster, I learnt so much in such a short amount of time and challenged myself in all sorts of scenarios; not only have I come away with a Bachelor’s degree but also with self-belief in my capabilities and increased confidence. The Ecology lecturers were experienced, knowledgeable, understanding, helpful and there were always lots of debates and laughs along the way. The advantages of a course at Sparsholt has to be the practical elements; we were always out of the classroom, surveying or out on local field trips. We also experienced study trips abroad and around Britain which allowed us to see various habitats, lots of wildlife and talk to different people within the industry.
I have always found Sparsholt a friendly and welcoming place, and there’s always so much going on and to get involved in, but I feel the most positive aspect of joining Sparsholt’s University Centre was the structured framework of learning, and the support provided while moving through the very early stages of a new career.
During each year of the course we were challenged with finding work placements to help us understand where the course can lead us career wise. This is where I was introduced to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. In my second year, I spent three weeks as a student research assistant at the Trust and ultimately found the job I love. The position offered volunteering opportunities, and this has successfully led to a position as a Research Assistant for the Waders For Real project in the Avon Valley, a project aimed at reversing the decline of breeding waders. Since I began my new job in 2018 I have experienced a great deal and have been introduced to so many opportunities. I have been able to apply all the skills I learnt at Sparsholt to my new position, but I still have a lot to learn. Sparsholt has given me the confidence to say ‘I can do this’ and it has also given me a thirst to keep learning, as there is always more to know. Research is a fascinating area of conservation to work in and I can safely say it is something I want to do for the rest of my life.
I can only end by saying, thank you Sparsholt, I had an absolute ball (and still am)!