Explore: Environment

Environmental Scientist
Forestry Commission

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Andrea K

0:00:00 I’m Andrea and I work as an environmental scientist for Forest Research which is the Research Department of the Forestry Commission. I spend quite a lot of time out in the field measuring tree seedlings or assessing the vegetation that comes up, so I’m quite good at looking at plants in the woodlands and saying, ‘this is that species and we’ve got so much of that species and that changes by so much over time’. My work involves as a scientist doing experiments to answer questions and eventually with the results from our experiments to help our foresters and also the private forestry sector to do better forestry.

00:00:43 When I was at school, I took the equivalent of biology A-levels and I think I always had in my mind I always wanted to become a biologist. I wasn’t quite sure where it would take me but I think I was always interested in looking at nature and observing things and questioning things. I was quite influenced I think by my biology teacher back at school. I was the only one who actually went on to do biology at university and I think she’s played quite an important part in my decision to do that although a lot of people around me said…were saying sort of, ‘don’t do that. There are so many people going into biology, you won’t have a chance to find a job…an interesting job afterwards’. But she’s kind of encouraged me to sort of go ahead and do it, no matter, and I’m glad I listened to her. I’m glad I sort of took that advice.

00:01:42 I had quite an affinity to the English language from back in school. It was my first foreign language and I always had in my mind particularly through my university time to go abroad and work in an English-speaking country. In between my bachelor equivalent and my masters equivalent time at university, I had the chance to spend one year at a university in Britain as an exchange student. It sort of caught my attention, caught my idea to, now that I had finished with university, to come to Britain again, but this time to work. And I did that.

00:02:25 When I came to British originally, I started off by teaching German at a sixth form college and although I’d originally only planned to come to Britain for maybe one year or two years, I think at that time I decided to give it a go and try and see if I could find a proper scientific job. I think I just got lucky because the job with the Forestry Commission came up. They were looking for an environmental scientist to work here at Alice Holt for Forest Research and I read the job description and I thought, ‘wow! That’s me somehow’. It felt right when I applied for it and yeah I got invited to the interview and I got the job and here I am.

00:03:14 I’m particularly interested in finding out new things. You start off with questions and you do something to find some answers to those questions. And, interestingly, mostly you end up with even more questions than the answer to your original question, which I think is quite, I particularly like because it kind of leads you to more and more interesting aspects of your work.


Andrea K is an Environmental Scientist with the Forestry Commission, “I spend quite a lot of time out in the field. I’m quite good at looking at plants in the woodlands and saying, ‘This is that species and we’ve got so much of that species and that changes by so much over time’. My work involves doing experiments to help our foresters do better forestry.”

More information about Environment professionals

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

52%  male 
48%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Jobholders in this unit group investigate, address, and advise on a variety of terrestrial and marine environment and resource management issues, including the development and implementation of environmental policies and remedies that address the impacts of human activities and industrial processes on the environment.
A good degree in a relevant subject is normally a minimum entry qualification, and some employers will require a postgraduate qualification. Relevant work experience to complement academic qualifications is highly desirable. Professional qualifications across a wide range of areas of work are available.
  • Identifies contamination of land, air or water and assesses any adverse impact on the environment;
  • Advises on and provides solutions for mitigating the effects of such contamination;
  • Implements remediation works;
  • Carries out environment-related desk-based research and fieldwork to collect, analyse and interpret data to determine their validity, quality and significance;
  • Carries out environmental audits and environmental impact assessments;
  • Communicates scientific and technical information to relevant audiences in an appropriate form, via reports, workshops, educational events, public hearings;
  • Assists organisations to conduct their activities in an environmentally appropriate manner;
  • Implements, reviews and advises on regulatory and legislative standards, guidelines and policies;
  • Provides professional guidance to clients, government agencies, regulators and other relevant bodies, having regard for sustainable approaches and solutions.
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