Luke Bamforth - MSc Conservation Biology
Name: Luke Bamforth
Postgraduate degree: MSc Conservation Biology
What are you doing now?
I am currently working for the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership as a Policy Officer. I am responsible for three workstreams within the organisation, which means I am very busy managing several projects. The first workstream is "Enjoying nature" which has a focus on ensuring that nature is taken into consideration within the leisure and tourism sector of Greater Lincolnshire and involves projects working closely with local tourism boards, nature tourism providers and other tourism stakeholders, to develop a better connected tourism product with a greater awareness of nature's importance within it.
The second workstream is "Being well with nature" which focuses on the role nature plays in both physical and mental health and wellbeing across the Greater Lincolnshire area. This includes being involved in greening heavily urbanised inner city areas, promoting nature's place in new sustainable residential developments and promoting green prescription. Much of this is done in partnership with local authorities and Public Health teams.
The third workstream is "Natural capital" which involves me putting the work we do into a natural capital context, allowing the benefits of our workstreams to be more relatable when a natural capital approach is used.
What were the main reasons you took the course?
After completing my undergraduate degree (also at the University of Derby, but at their Buxton Campus) I felt that I needed to take the next step to gain an advantage in a competitive sector. I felt that the completion of a post graduate degree would also open up my options, including research and academic options.
Why did you choose to study the course at the University of Derby?
Having studied with them at undergraduate level, I knew that they had an emphasis on real world learning and also knew that many of their faculty had great connections to real people in the sector. They were also never afraid of utilising the knowledge and experience of non-faculty experts to help students better understand the sector that they want to go into.
What impact has studying this course at Derby had on your career?
I feel that much of the work I completed during this course is directly responsible for me getting my current job. It also gave me the opportunity to develop a network of contacts that I can rely on while working within the sector.
How did the lecturers inspire you?
All of the lecturers are incredibly passionate about the subjects they teach and were able to engage me in topics that I would otherwise not have considered. It was inspiring to be taught by some of the country's foremost experts in their fields, but also by people that had real world experience, those that had done the jobs we wanted to do, especially considering that their experience and knowledge was valued as highly as academic knowledge.
How do you feel Postgraduate study has helped you in your career so far?
Postgraduate study has helped me in my career immensely, more so than at undergraduate level. You are treated as an equal and knowledge is gained through discussion, developing my ability to reach my own conclusions and have confidence in them. Also, through placement modules in the sector, my confidence in my own value to a team and what I can offer to a project increased immeasurably. This certainly benefits me in terms of how I present myself in interviews and day to day discussions in the office.
What are your future plans?
I hope to continue my foray into policy, with the aim of making a real difference within conservation, though I certainly wouldn't rule out a more hands on conservation role, a scientific/research role, or even returning to complete further study. Regardless, while facing a number of opportunities I can be confident that my Postgraduate course has given me the tools I need to suceed whatever I decide.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to study this course at the University of Derby?
The academic and technical skills this course can give you are second to none, but remember to make the most of the other opportunities available through the university, make the most of the industry experience the faculty has, make the most of the network of connections that the University of Derby can provide and make the most of any placement or hands on opportunities, be they curricular or extracurricular. You never know what you will learn, what experience you will gain, or what contacts you might meet. Finally, question what you are told, it's the best way to learn, don't be afraid to have an opinion, but more importantly don't be afraid to change it once in a while.
Who are you still in touch with from the University of Derby?
Prof. Karim Vahed, Debbie Alston, Dr Linda Birch and Duncan Marson.