Trainee Case Studies

Trainees and project managers at the Marine Graduate Training Programme celebratTrainees and project managers at the Marine Graduate Training Programme celebration event, May 2014

During 2011 to 2014, the Marine Graduate Training Programme has supported twelve trainees. From 2014 to 2017, the Marine and Coastal Heritage Programme has supported a further 12 trainees. You can read more about individual trainees who have completed their placement and how they have progressed since then below.

Case Study- Rachael Wright

September 2013

In 2010 I completed an undergraduate degree in Geography with Ocean Science at Plymouth University. After completing a dissertation in marine ecology I developed a keen interest in this field, going on to complete a Masters degree in Marine Ecology and Environmental Management at Queen Mary, University of London. Last year I worked on the Caribbean island of Bonaire at an educational research station, where I was involved with various research projects and assisted in the teaching of undergraduate students.

My time with the Trust has flown by so far and I love the diversity of the work. Our first few weeks saw lots of training workshops, and more recently we have been involved in ecological survey work and community engagement events.
I am particularly interested in education and public outreach and so far there have been lots of opportunities for me to gain experience in this field. We have just finished Marine Weeks, two weeks of marine events across Cumbria and Lancashire.

As a personal project focusing on marine pollution, I am running several events at the Lakes Aquarium in South Cumbria over the summer. These events aim to increase awareness of the issues caused by marine litter, especially plastics, and impart this knowledge through fun crafts and games. I have only just begun with the project but have already learnt so many new skills including project management, event organisation, engagement with the public and I have definitely developed my arts and craft skills!

I have only just begun with the project but have already learnt so many new skills including project management, event organisation, engagement with the public and I have definitely developed my arts and craft skills!




March 2014

I have had a fantastic time on the Marine Graduate Training Scheme and gained a great amount of experience in a wide range of topics. I love how diverse the programme has been; every week is different, working with different people in many locations. The best part of the scheme for me has been the opportunity to increase my experience in education and public outreach through many events and activites. The experience I have gained in this field has helped me secure a job with Norfolk Wildlife Trust as a Seasonal Education Officer. I would definitely recommend the trainee programme to anyone wishing to start a career in marine conservation.




July 2014

Rachael is enjoying spending her summer outdoors busy leading educational events and activites for children and adults alike at Norfolk Wildlife Trusts Nature Reserves. Rachael is due to finish her seasonal position with Norfolk Wildlife Trust in September this year but hopes to secure a similar role enthusing and inspiring others about our marine environment. Good luck Rachael! 

September 2014

Rachael has now secured a three year position as the Cley Living Coast Project Community Education Officer for Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Within this role she will inspire visitors to Cley Marshes to learn about and understand the value of Norfolk’s  exceptional coastline, wildlife and habitats by developing and delivering Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Living Coast education and community programmes at the new Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre at Cley Marshes. For Rachael this position is perfect and she feels that 'the amount of experience I gained on the training programme really helped me secure this position'. Congratualtions Rachael! 


Case Study- Anna Bunney

September 2013

'Originally from Worcestershire/Shropshire, I travelled to Bristol to complete my Geography and Environmental Management degree. Within my degree, I specifically focussed on coastal and nature conservation modules, which strengthened my burgeoning enthusiasm for marine wildlife and conservation.
To gain more relevant experience, I have worked and volunteered for the Avon, Worcestershire and Manx Wildlife Trusts as well as the Manx Basking Shark Watch and Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch, before getting this once in a lifetime opportunity with the Wildlife Trusts. My specific interest is working with marine mammals and engaging the public in marine conservation issues; the next 11 months are sure to give me so much experience in both of these fields.

In just two months, I have already been involved in organising and delivering activities at events such as the Barrow’s Wildside Bonanza and a marine themed beach events day at Sandscale Hawes Nature Reserve in collaboration with the National Trust. As part of the National Whale and Dolphin Watch week, I have delivered cetacean watches, from Heysham to St. Bees!

The training scheme is allowing me to work with a number of organisations recording sightings of cetaceans and leading school sessions with a marine mammal focus. With a strong interest in marine mammals, continuing the annual monitoring of South Walney Nature Reserve’s seal population was a natural choice for my personal project and I hope to start up a photographic identification catalogue of the seals, so we can track how far they travel for food and mates.

The training scheme has been very beneficial to me so far. I have gained on-the-job experience and official training that is crucial to my future career development in marine conservation, and with so many more opportunities to look forward to I can’t wait for the next 9 months!'

 March 2014


The Marine Graduate Training Programme was exactly what I needed to pursue a career in marine conservation, specifically marine mammal conservation and community engagement.

‘The Marine Graduate Training Programme was exactly what I needed to pursue a career in marine conservation, specifically marine mammal conservation and community engagement. My learning plan was tailored exactly to fit my needs. I have been able to get involved with a wide range of different organisations and charities alongside the Wildlife Trusts to conduct land based surveys and deliver marine mammal sessions for local primary schools and after school clubs. I was also able to expand my knowledge in marine legislation, rocky shore surveying and organising events. It was such a great experience being a part of the ‘marine team’ and it was extremely good fun too!








I am going on to work for Organisation Cetacea (ORCA), as a Wildlife Education Officer on the DFDS Seaways North Sea ferry route from Newcastle to Amsterdam, surveying for marine wildlife and inspiring as many people as possible about the amazing marine wildlife right on our doorstep.’

February 2015

Anna has now secured a two year position with ORCA as the Community Wildlife Engagement Officer, based in Portsmouth. Here's what she has to say about her first month in the role: 'I am now a month into my Community Wildlife Officer role for ORCA, and I love this job as it's so varied. As the Your Seas - People and Port project is brand new, it's really exciting to be running the whole project and getting involved in many different areas of whale and dolphin conservation. Currently, I'm organising and running marine wildlife festivals, going in to schools to deliver "Dolphin Science" workshops, training up local businesses in cetacean identification and delivering talks to local community groups. I'm also lucky enough to be able to get involved with cetacean surveys on ferry ships, too.'


Case Study- Nick Walters

July 2014

In 2013, I completed my undergraduate degree in Marine Biology & Coastal Zone Management at Blackpool & the Fylde College but the marine sciences have been a lifelong passion. Growing up in Essex I was lucky enough to be brought up with an appreciation for the coast, and used this energy to amass a range of experiences in the field from a young age.

I have a particular interest in marine heritage and want to focus this within the UK. My preference to work within this country drove me to working with many UK organisations such as Shark Trust, Planet Whale, Sea Watch Foundation and ORCA. Working for these organisations has allowed me to increase my knowledge of the industry, diversify my skills but allowed only limited, short term practical experiences. The limited time of these experiences is a commonality whilst volunteering and presented difficulties for job applications following graduation.

Without the traineeship, I don’t think I would have secured work within education and it has given invaluable personal and professional experiences.

I soon learnt that gaining a first class degree with honours guaranteed nothing unless it was married with a wealth of ‘on-the-job’ experience, with increasing competition for the available jobs and many companies and organsations therefore expecting the finished product. It was at this point that I began to look for an opportunity such as the one presented by this traineeship.
When I came across the posting for this traineeship, it felt like someone had truly written it with me in mind. It really was a once in a lifetime opportunity to finally use my knowledge and energy, not only to increase my experience, but also to give something back to the communities and act as a face for the Wildlife Trusts. The traineeship was set up for graduates exactly like me in mind who only lack that bit of extra experience to stand a chance in forging a career.

The first two weeks have been a whirlwind experience; two days of inductions, meeting the incredibly approachable members of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust was followed by a four night stay in the Isle of Man. We were given the chance to work on the touch tanks at the Manx Queenie Festival and to excite hundreds of people about the richness of marine species around the UK coastline.

The second week included an amazing chance to have a full day of training from NWIFCA as well as joining in with the Cross Bay Walk run by the Queen’s Guide to the Sands, Cedric Robinson MBE.

I feel incredibly lucky to have been given this experience and cannot wait to continue my traineeship with upcoming events such as an outdoor first aid course and several chances to increase my experience with public engagement.


February 2015

Nick has left his placement early having secured a position as a Beach Schools Education Officer for Park View 4 U in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire. Before leaving his placement he told us: 'Without the traineeship, I don’t think I would have secured work within education and it has given invaluable personal and professional experiences.' After working as an Education Officer for a few months, Nick was offered the position of Enforcement Officer working with North West IFCA - well done Nick!


Case Study – Vicki Foster

July 2014

Having traveled the world on a gap year after my A levels, I was confident in my decision to undertake my undergraduate degree in Marine Biology at Bangor University. Following graduation I worked for several years managing an algae culture laboratory. However, it transpired that laboratory work was not where my passion lay, so I returned to study an MRes in Ecosystem-based Management of Marine Systems at the University of St. Andrews. Volunteer work both whilst travelling and during my studies with NGOs, charities and private companies around the world reinforced my passion for marine conservation work.

This training programme stood out for me due to the diversity of skills taught, with the ability to tailor the course to my own personal requirements. It is an ideal way for me to amalgamate my existing knowledge, learn new skills and to put everything that I’ve learnt into practice, whilst contributing to the valuable marine work the Wildlife Trusts do.

This training programme stood out for me due to the diversity of skills taught

I am keen to get involved in community engagement programmes, as I believe the best way to conserve our natural heritage is to get everyone interested and inspired by it. I also want develop my practical skills, including gaining more experience in ecological surveying and coastal conservation projects. In the short time I have been here, I have already had the opportunity to take part in the Manx Queenie Festival, teaching people about the wonderful diversity of marine life around the Isle of Man and assist in taking a school group rock pooling on Walney Island. I am confident that the upcoming months of training and events will prove to be challenging and interesting, providing me with invaluable skills which will make me a standout candidate for many jobs in the marine sector.

December 2015

After finishing the training placement, Vicki was successful in securing the position of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Officer with Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (KEIFCA). Vicki recently told us

“The trainee placement has really benefited me in my current role by providing me with essential skills/knowledge such as;

  • Working with NGOs – my experience working with CWT has allowed me to understand the motivations of the NGOs, making it easier to discuss issues surrounding fishing in EMS.
  • Learning about the revised approach to fishing in EMS – Emily’s (the Marine Conservation Officer) fantastic work giving us an in-depth background in EMS has been of huge benefit, as my current role involves writing the assessments for all fishing activities as part of the revised approach (HRAs). All the additional information Emily presented us with regarding the legislation on fisheries was really useful.
  • Giving me an introduction to QGIS skills
  • Presentation practice –Although I have given numerous presentations over the years, it is always a good skill to practice, especially to a variety of audiences.
  • Email management – Jamie (the Senior Education and Volunteer Coordinator) gave us a very good presentation on email management, which has also proved useful and is not something I really considered before in my working life.
  • Bird disturbance surveys – I am working on SPAs as part of the HRA work. My increased knowledge of what causes birds to take flight through doing the bird disturbance surveys on Walney has been very helpful.
  • NWIFA cockle surveys – Learning more about stock survey methodology was very useful.

There are many skills I gained from the internship which are valuable to have and will hopefully benefit me in the future The skills I gained in shore-search surveys and species ID as well as event organising are not relevant in my current role, but I am sure they will be useful in the future. The internship is great for networking and seeing the possible careers for marine scientists (I had not previously considered working for the IFCAs), and increases employability hugely.”

Case Study – Amy Bradshaw

July 2014

I was extremely fortunate to learn how to scuba dive at 10 years old, and so was introduced to the exciting marine environment at a young age. 

I feel the skills I developed during the Marine Traineeship at Cumbria Wildlife Trust directly contributed towards my current employment 

Having developed an early passion for the marine environment I decided to further my interest by studying Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management at Blackpool and the Fylde College. After graduating in 2012 I volunteered for various organisations including Oban Seal Sanctuary, The Sea Trust, The Atlantic Whale Foundation and many more.

I then applied for the Marine Traineeship in order to gain more work-based experience. I felt it was particularly important to gain more practical ‘on the job’ knowledge and skills within the marine conservation industry as so many job opportunities require this type of experience.  Before starting the marine traineeship I was unsure which specific area of marine conservation I wished to focus on, but hoped the traineeship would provide me with a unique opportunity to help me eliminate the areas in which I do not wish to work, and therefore focus more closely on the remaining aspects of marine conservation. It was a fantastic platform for me to meet like-minded people and learn from others on my journey.

Amy Bradshaw at an event


December 2015

After completing the traineeship I have now secured a full time position with The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside as the Fylde Sand Dunes Project Officer. The role is very much community engagement and education based as it focuses on raising awareness of the biodiversity/conservation interest and flood defence properties of the dunes. I am responsible for recruiting volunteers to help carry out practical conservation on the dunes, organising corporate work parties, producing interpretation such as educational and directional signage, and informative flyers about the project. I am also responsible for promoting and advertising the project through local media, and delivering presentations to local groups about the valuable work undertaken by the project. I also organise educational activities and deliver beach school sessions in order to introduce children to their local coastal environment. I feel it is crucial that the next generation understands and appreciates the marine environment so they feel connected enough to protect it when they are older.

I am thoroughly enjoying my position at Lancashire Wildlife Trust and am excited to see what the future brings. I feel the skills I developed during the Marine Traineeship at Cumbria Wildlife Trust directly contributed towards my current employment and I am extremely grateful for such a privileged opportunity.