Students interested in working in nature conservation and biodiversity will have the opportunity to do field work in Portugal and Hungary.

Exeter leads European collaboration on student exchange and employability

Students from the University of Exeter with an interest in working in nature conservation and biodiversity will have the opportunity to do field work in Portugal and Hungary as part of a pioneering European exchange project being led by the University of Exeter.

The venture, which involves a collaboration between three university partners and three NGOs in the UK, Hungary and Portugal, is being funded by European Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership and will see students from all three countries learning technical field skills in a partner country as well as developing their employability in the nature conservation sector. Applications are being considered for 25 places on the scheme from students across the Streatham and Penryn campuses.

Dr Dawn Lees and Ian Osborne of the Exeter Student Employability and Academic Success team who are leading the project, recently met with project partners Ambios Ltd (UK), the Barn Owl Foundation and Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary) and University of Evora and Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (Portugal) to develop the training resources and online learning materials that will be at the heart of the project.

The project partners were joined by representatives of the UK’s well developed nature conservation sector to inform the thinking of the project, including The Environment Agency, Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, Marine Biological Association and the Devon Wildlife Trust.

Exeter is leading the production, testing and evaluation of an Open Educational Resource (OER) environment and biodiversity employability guidance learning package for higher education students. The project also aims to foster entrepreneurial and innovative thinking and facilitate students' access to the European labour market in the environmental and biodiversity management sector.

Dr Lees, Curriculum and Work-related Learning Manager, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for students to develop a network of contacts across Europe crucial to working in the field of biodiversity management. It has provided an opportunity for us all to engage in different cultural ways of working and will pave the way for longer term opportunities and exchanges.

“With Living Systems coming on stream and the growing reputation of our research in Penryn we have the potential to maximise our profile in these disciplines and being a partner in a project of this kind will help us to be on the front foot in terms of delivering the kind of employability support our students need.”

Follow the project online and on twitter at #careersinconservationKA2.

Date: 7 May 2016

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