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Environmental Management BSc(Hons): Placement case study

Robert Mikhail Negru, field assistant at Carpathian Wildlife Foundation

    Robert Mikhail Negru
  • Name: Robert Mikhail Negru
  • Course: Environmental Management BSc(Hons)
  • Placement role: Field assistant
  • Placement company: Carpathian Wildlife Foundation
  • Year: 2014/15

Why did you decide to do an industrial placement as part of your degree?

The reason why I decided to do an industrial placement is because of the valuable expertise and knowledge I would gain in the field of environmental management. Most well-paid jobs require students with experience in the domain they wish to seek employment, therefore by going on a placement year I am able to obtain important experience that will benefit me in the future. Also, I can ensure a job position at the organisation I am currently working at after university.

What was the process for getting a placement and what support did you get from the University?

The process of applying for a placement was made easy with the help of the Placements Team, which offered support and information along the way. I was presented with instructions on how to build a CV and behave in an interview.

What does your placement role involve?

It involves keeping track of wildlife populations in specific natural areas of Romania, by monitoring the abundance and distribution of targeted species for the long-term conservation of fauna.

How is your typical day – any specific projects were you involved with?

A typical day would be going in the field in pairs, hiking about three to five km on a GPS pre-defined route, in order to search for any signs of wildlife activity. At the end of the day, we would complete field reports with our findings, such as footprints, wildlife trails, excrements and actual sightings/encounters.

What key elements of your job will involve what you had learned from your course?

Key elements such as knowledge of geological processes and general fundamentals of ecology have helped me during my first weeks of training. Furthermore, data collection and analysing skills leaned at university helped me present and evaluate my findings over the course of my placement.

From your experience working at your placement employer is there anything that you will utilise when you go back to your study (if this is applicable)?

I will experienced in gathering data for my dissertation, as well as organise and manage my time affectively. In addition, I have gained valuable skills conducting GIS-based research and constructing maps using certain software, which will prove useful.

How do you feel that your placement has benefited your course?

I feel that I have become more responsible and mature in terms of decision making and quality of work. The placement experience has widened my knowledge of flora and fauna, as well as improving my social skills and data evaluation skills.

Are there any other benefits of doing a placement?

Other benefits of doing a placement involve learning to work within an organisation and be responsible for the decisions you take as an individual, as well as part of a group or project. It also helped me figure out what type of work I would like to have after finishing university.

What job will you be seeking when you graduate?

I would like to work within an organisation just like the one I worked for over the course of my placement year, in the field of wildlife and flora conservation.

What advice would you give to the students who are thinking of applying for placement?

I would strongly encourage students to embark on a placement year, as it offers the chance to understand how a company or organisation is structured, as well as the responsibilities that come with the job. Also, it offers students the chance to see what they would like to do for a living and discuss their interests with people who have applicable experience in that line of work.

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