Contributing to industry talent through our L&D programme

The Orchard is flourishing – maintaining excellence through our learning and development programme

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

The Ecology Consultancy’s internal training programme ‘The Orchard’ started the new decade in a flurry of activity, setting the pace for our 21st year.

Nurturing our internal skills through knowledge-sharing

We kicked off the new year with a series of ‘Lunch and Learns’, relaxed lunchtime sessions where our expert consultants share their knowledge, expertise and valuable advice with colleagues.

A recent session covered Common Grass ID, and Senior Ecologist Georgie Knibbs encouraged those attending to practice their skills on the samples she brought in.

Past sessions have touched on a variety of topics, ranging from fee quote creation and presentation skills to dormouse conservation and an overview of invasive species. These sessions have been delivered by our own employees and members of our sister company, Temple, sharing their skills in other areas of environmental consultancy. Coming up, our employees will be delving into planning and policy, the ins and outs of bird surveys, and advanced bat techniques.

This month we have also launched a programme of more formal internal training so that our team are fully-prepared for the survey season ahead, with refreshers on survey methodology for protected species, on-site health and safety, and project management.

By developing this programme of in-house training we are providing our employees with the opportunity not only to learn, but also to practice and develop their presentation and training skills within a friendly environment.


Investing in staff development

But The Orchard offers so much more. The learning and development programme has been created as a tool to improve our employees’ knowledge, skills and experience to help them grow into a fully-formed ecological consultant. It is aimed at all levels and encourages participation, knowledge and skills-sharing, and reflects The Ecology Consultancy’s vision of being a learning organisation.

All employees have an individual budget of time and money that can be used to develop a training programme tailored to their needs that will enhance their skills and experience through internal training, job shadowing and mentoring.

Two of our senior ecologists used surveys of the Hackney Marshes last summer to host a couple of shadowing days for our London office consultants, offering the opportunity to learn National Vegetation Classification methods and practice plant ID (the team also came across some interesting invertebrates such as the chrysalis of the nymphalid butterfly pictured below).

Part of the training budget can also be used for external training courses, to facilitate our employees’ personal professional development choices, as well as filling gaps in their business skills. Examples include: courses on Identification of Invasive Alien Plants and Phase 1 for Development, both run by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), and an Introduction to Identifying Deciduous Trees in Winter, from the Field Studies Council.

Contributing to industry talent

Our knowledge-sharing initiatives extend beyond our office walls. The expertise of our senior team and experts is also called upon by partner organisations, such as CIRIA and CIEEM, to deliver a programme of high-quality external ecology training courses and CPD designed for professional ecologists, graduates, sustainability, environment and built environment professionals alike.

Our training with external partners kicked off last week with a free lunchtime webinar delivered by Principal Ecologist and head of the Norfolk office, Dr Rachel Saunders, providing a taster of CIRIA’s updated Working with Wildlife training for the construction industry. This full-day CPD-accredited training is taking place in two locations this year, Manchester in March and London in April, and will be delivered respectively by Associate Director, Dr Alex Ramsay, and Rachel.

We have also partnered with CIEEM again this year, after the success of 2019’s fully-booked course, to deliver the ‘Reptiles: Ecology, Surveys & Mitigation’ training, with reptile species lead Demian Lyle at the London Wetland Centre.

Learning to handle reptiles on the CIEEM-accredited training at London Wetland centre

Check out our Training & CPD page for more information, dates, and to book your tickets. You can also sign up to our Training & CPD mailing list and make sure you’re always the first to know about any upcoming courses. Sign up here.

Published 18th February 2020.

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