Marine Sustainability Adviser
One thing I like about my job is working together with people from a range of organisations... We all come together with different perspectives and new ideas to help tackle various issues in the offshore wind sector
So as a marine sustainability advisor I'm the casework lead for a number of sites across Scotland so offshore wind wave and tidal sites and my role is to collate and develop advice on the natural heritage interests. This could be marine ornithology, marine mammals and we also look at Seascape landscape and visual impacts.
My career path to date has been quite conventional I studied an integrated master's degree at University which was in Marine Biology at the time I also did various customer service roles and was even self-employed as an academic tutor for a short while. I really like working within the offshore wind sector because it's such a rapidly fast moving industry and so there's so many opportunities increasing every day and there's always something new to learn about.
I'm particularly proud of being awarded the Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarship through the EUROPARC Federation last year so this enabled me to undertake a fully funded study visit to another European country to look at sustainable development within protected areas - I decided to go to the Netherlands and I visited various Coastal and Nearshore wind farms and I was able to learn more about novel mitigation techniques to help protect birds. I also learned about nature inclusive design and positive biodiversity measures and just more broadly about offshore wind in the Netherlands so this really helped me develop my understanding of the offshore wind sector on an international scale - I also made a lot of great International connections as well.
One thing that I really like about my job is working together with people from a range of organizations, whether that's the developers and the Consultants, or the regulators. We all come together with different perspectives and new ideas to help tackle various issues in the offshore wind sector.
Soft skills are really important for my role, so for instance strong communication skills are key. I think it's really important to have good written skills because we provide robust and concise advice device that needs to go out to a range of stakeholders. It's also important to have good verbal skills because when we're in meetings with developers or Consultants you often have to discuss the various issues and try and come to an understanding together. I also think it's really important to have good time management and organizational skills, because often I'm having to manage competing deadlines across the different renewable sites that I'm the casework officer for.
I would describe myself as a generalist rather than a specialist - so even though I studied marine biology at University, this was very diverse and gave me a broad understanding of the marine environment. In my day-to-day work I have to maintain an overview across the different renewable sites that I'm the casework officer for - and I also have to maintain an overview of the different receptors and the issues going on so perhaps in marine mammals or marine ornithology. This means when I'm working internally with specialist, I can help remember some of the key issues that have come up previously so that then helps them then provide their technical advice, and helps with their assessment that I then collate overall into the responses that go out the door.
I think we need more generalists in offshore wind we need people that are of course passionate about the environment and about climate change because ultimately that is what the offshore wind sector is trying to accomplish. But we need people from diverse backgrounds in different careers, as well and different degree understandings if they have gone to University, to bring together different perspectives and new ideas. I think we also need more opportunities and more diverse opportunities, including apprenticeships or more advanced trainee roles - so that we can have a variety of people come to the table, whether that's early career people or career changes or folk from underrepresented groups. I think it's important to focus on the soft skills and the transferable skills you can learn from other experience, so whether that's working the customer service roles and building upon those communication skills - or perhaps you've had caring responsibilities for a family member and it's about how you manage that time and all the competing commitments that you have. There all of these soft skills are really important and would be really useful in the offshore wind sector especially in a role like mine.