Prior to joining Arbtech, I’d been working in administrative roles in events and higher education.
I’d been wanting to make a career change towards ecology having studied relevant subjects at university, and when a job advert with Arbtech caught my eye, I decided to take a closer look at the company.
I was very impressed by what I saw. They really showed a willingness to invest in both their staff and their clients.
I was particularly impressed by watching the videos of the director, who set the whole process out really simply and demonstrated how Arbtech were a leading company in the field of ecological and arboricultural surveying.
Primarily, I love the fact that Arbtech has given me the opportunity to get a foothold in the world of ecology and begin my career as a consultant.
I don’t think I could have asked for a better environment to build up my knowledge and skillset to excel in the field, which leads me to another aspect of the company I love: the unlimited CPD budget.
It’s incredible that they allow us to book ourselves onto as many courses and training sessions as we want in order to educate ourselves and become more confident in our roles.
This is something I have found incredibly valuable in my first six months. I have joined courses on a variety of subjects including great crested newt ecology, winter tree identification and bat survey techniques, to name but a few.
I still have many more planned for the coming year, as I want to improve my botanical skills, particularly my grass species identification.
Outside of my work life, I really enjoy getting active.
Quite a lot of the time, you’ll either find me in the gym, at the climbing wall or on my bike.
I am also part of a running club, the London Frontrunners, who I run with at least once a week. So far, I have taken part in several half marathons, including the Big Half, Bath Half and Lisbon Half.
In tandem with my club running, I am also a big Parkrun fanatic, and love to take part in these 5k events each Saturday. My partner and I rarely miss one and – to date – I have clocked up to 285 Parkrun events at 57 different locations.
To balance out my active side, I also love to bake. It helps me relax and get creative!
One of my favourite things to make is a batch of hot cross buns for Easter, but I’m up for giving anything a try. In 2021, I was asked to make a four-tiered wedding cake for my partner’s sister, and I’ll be making another wedding cake for some friends this year too.
I’d say that the key to achieving the most in life is to take advantage of all the opportunities you get and learn as much as you can.
Speaking from the view of an early career ecologist, I have been able to upskill myself through training courses I have found online and by going out independently to practice skills like botanical identification.
There is a huge breadth of subject areas to learn about in this line of work, so practice is essential.
My second tip is to be organised.
It is easy to slip behind on work and feel like you are overloaded with various tasks, so I try to keep myself focused and schedule as best as possible.
I do this by setting out manageable goals to complete each day. This helps me to keep on top of all the work and admin involved with the job, as well as supporting my efforts to manage my levels of stress.
Having only joined Arbtech in the last six months, I’ve only had the opportunity to attend a couple of socials so far.
That said, I’d have to say my favourite one was a meet-up we had in Essex to have an adventure day on a high ropes course.
It was actually my first social and therefore my first opportunity to meet a group of other Arbtechers in a social context, but we had great fun during the day tackling various climbing routes, and I only managed to fall off once!
Following that, we went for a lovely dinner in the evening and ended the night with drinks and dancing at a couple of bars in town.
I have found that it is essential to join in with all the socials to get to know your colleagues as real people and let your hair down together. It gives you shared experience, builds bonds, and ultimately makes you feel more like a team.
I can’t wait to see what future socials are planned!
I have amassed an extensive repertoire of places that I have visited over the years, from various European destinations to the USA, and from South East Asia to locations as far as Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
I have loved exploring the world and feel grateful to have seen so much of it. However, in recent years, I have seen much more of the UK than ever before. One of my favourite getaways is to go camping and get out into nature, so I would love to head up to the Scottish Highlands and Scottish Islands for a bit of wild camping, hiking and relaxing; the Isle of Skye is probably at the top of my list in that respect.
My other travel goal revolves around Parkrun.
I am trying to complete several parkrun challenges at present, one of which is the ‘Alphabeteer’ challenge where you have to attend a Parkrun which begins with each letter of the alphabet (apart from X, as there isn’t one).
We have every letter apart from Z in the UK, so I intend to travel to Zuiderpark Parkrun in the Netherlands to complete my challenge.
I have only just started my career in ecology and can already see myself working for Arbtech for many years to come, so I hope to still be with the company in five years’ time as a full ecological consultant.
In those five years, I imagine I will have upskilled myself on a variety of different survey techniques and gained several protected species licences for bats and great crested newts, or I’d hope to gain protected species licences for at least those species but hopefully some others too!
I would also like to work towards a variety of other ecological qualifications, such as the BSBI Field Identification Skills Certificate.
The future seems full of possibilities, so I will see where the road takes me.
My current huge goal is to buy my first house with my partner.
As we are hoping to find a little house in London somewhere, it’s currently proving to be a particularly difficult challenge, but I remain optimistic.
This will be one of the biggest steps in my life, as I have only lived in rented accommodation for most of my adult life.
Having my own house is now such an exciting concept, especially because I can decorate the interior as I like and grow a lush garden outside.
It would also mean that I can finally adopt a cat to keep me company whilst working from home, and it can act as a lap warmer during the cold winters!
I’m hoping that we will be able to find somewhere and be in by the end of the year.
Ben joined Arbtech in July 2022.
Meet the other members of our leading ecology and arboriculture team.