Environmental Management - a student profile

Sophie's Journey

I spent most of my childhood  living in the beautiful English Lake District. Growing up in the middle of the countryside, it is unsurprising that I developed a fascination with nature at an early age but it was not until I was 15 that I realised that this is where I wanted to make my future career.

We had recently moved to a Country Estate in the South Lakes when, early one morning, my younger brother, Edward, spotted a fox uncomfortably close to his hens. Soon the Gamekeeper arrived on his morning rounds and, when we told him about the fox, he offered to take us with him when he went to find it.Obviously we both jumped at the opportunity ,and after a lot of persuading and promising to work extra hard on our lessons the next day, our mother agreed to let us accompany him.

From that day on, I spent all the time I could helping him with his daily tasks; his knowledge of the countryside and local wildlife intrigued me. I began to understand some of the signs and track the elusive creatures that had left them  behind. The woodland floor told their story. Each paw print and hidden run were like the pages of a book.


I knew I would soon need to decide on a career, a choice that would effect me every day  for the rest of my life.I was suddenly sure, beyond all doubt  ,that  I wanted to devote my life to being a gamekeeper, such an inspiring career,now I knew the truly beneficial effect a properly managed Country Estate has on the declining numbers of some important species of Native British Wildlife.

I soon realised I would need recognized GCSE or equivalent qualifications to be able to enrol on my chosen Course,  a level 2 Diploma in Game keeping and Wildlife  Management .I had always been home educated and many of you may be aware of how difficult it is to obtain a recognized GCSE qualification outside  the conventional Schooling  system. Because I wanted to begin college before I was 18, I had a fairly limited time to achieve this.

Little Arthur Independent School was exactly what I was looking for. I enrolled on their Key Stage 3, 11- 12 correspondence courses in Maths English and Science. I am pleased to say I haven't looked back.Over two years I quickly worked my way through the KS3 courses and last May, I took IGCSE exams in Core Maths , Core Biology, Environmental Management and English Language.In August I was thrilled to discover I had achieved two "C"s and two "B"s, more than adequate to gain me a place on my chosen course.

My Tutor, and also Head Teacher, Jennifer Morton, has been so helpful and encouraging throughout my learning and very willing to advise me when the time came to make the important decision of IGCSE subjects .Assignments were always returned promptly, which was particularly helpful as I was working to a tight time schedule.       

IGCSE Environmental Management has given me a foundation in the knowledge of the benefits of conservation and habitat management, an understanding of the need to create a balance between the commercial farmer's need to make a living and  feed the country ,and the provision of a  refuge for wildlife, beneficial insects and nesting birds.          

 Because the Game keeping and Wildlife management course is mostly practical, work- based learning, I also needed to secure  a 2 year placement before September this year.I have had many warnings of how hard it can be to find one in time for college ( particularly as a girl ) , so I began applying for jobs last April. My first application resulted in an interview and my first interview was  successful ! I am currently working on an estate in South Shropshire, which has a special interest in  Grey Partridge Conservation, and is home to many other rare species of native British wildlife, notably Brown Hares , Lapwings and even some Curlew. Now, with my placement organised, I am excited to say that Newton Rigg College, Cumbria, have accepted my IGCSE results! I will begin College on the 9th of September this year.

My advice to anyone who is unsure about what career to chose is to follow your dream; almost anything is possible if you put your mind and heart into achieving it.