Pro Vision Ecology takes part in school 'employability day'

12th February, 2019

Two rescued bats were star attractions at a Winchester school ‘employability day’ earlier this month (February 7).

Pro Vision ecologist Ruth Holland took a pair of common pipistrelle bats into the classroom at Kings’ School for her talk on ecology and conservation.

Winchester-based Provision, a firm of planning consultants, architects and ecologists, was among 14 local employers offering advice on the educational requirements, skills and salaries of a wide range of careers. Eight different sessions were offered to Year 9 pupils, each of which the 330 students were able to attend on rotation.  

Ruth, a former science teacher and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) ambassador, described how ecologists help to protect and restore the natural environment, for example when new housing developments are built. Ecologists carry out a range of tasks, including field surveys to identify, record and monitor protected species and their habitats.

As a practical task, Ruth asked the pupils to identify six native UK tree species from winter twigs she had collected: beech, birch, dog wood, oak, ash and hazel. But the teenagers were most interested in her little, brown bats.

A volunteer with the Bat Conservation Trust, Ruth cares for injured bats until they are well enough for release. The two she took to Kings’ had been found during building work. Ruth, who is licensed to handle bats, carefully held the tiny creatures to show the pupils their sharp teeth for eating insects and wings.

Commenting after the Pro Vision ecology session, Kai Carpenter, 13, said: “This was really interesting. I liked learning about the bats.”

Laura Doherty, 13, said: “That was really cool. The bats are so tiny and have such a high-pitched squeak that we can still hear.” Meanwhile, Siohban Lalley, 13, said she liked to hear about the different species of bats and see the bat wing membranes and fingers.

Joanna Turner, careers lead and advisor at Kings’ School, said the aim of employability day is to support Year 9 pupils in choosing the right GCSEs and to raise awareness of different career paths. Other employers taking part included IBM, NATS (National Air Traffic Services), Griffon Hoverwork and University of Winchester.

Louisa Jones, principal ecologist at Pro Vision, said: “We were delighted to get the chance to highlight ecology and show the kids how exciting it is to work with British wildlife.”