Hello! I’m Corinne, Unlocking the Severn’s Communications Apprentice. I joined project in June 2021 and I am responsible for running the social media channels; editing and creating content for the Unlocking the Severn website; and coordinating and promoting events.
I’m nearly 8 months into my apprenticeship with Unlocking the Severn now, and wow I’ve had an amazing time on the project already!
Perhaps the best part of this apprenticeship so far has been the opportunity to experience many different sides of this important conservation project. As well as working as a central member of the comms team, I have also organised events to introduce people to Unlocking the Severn; I’ve got stuck in with practical conservation, alongside our brilliant volunteer group on Diglis Island in Worcester; and I have also got involved in the scientific monitoring side of the project. We have a brilliant team of experts monitoring how our fish passes are helping fish such as twaite shad, salmon, lamprey, and eel. I have been able to attend the monitoring group meetings, learn about different environmental monitoring techniques, and even stand in not one, but two empty fish passes, and experience a fish-eye-view of the awesome structures the project has built!
Left: Visiting Holt Fish Pass during construction. The interior structure of our final fish pass had just been completed. I got to walk through the fish pass a few weeks before the team filled it up with water for the fish! Right: Standing inside the 100 m long Diglis Fish Pass in Worcester. In order to clean the underwater viewing window (yes we have an underwater viewing gallery where you can see wild fish swimming past!) the pass must be drained of water. I came face to face with some juvenile lamprey too that day.
A new perspective
An apprenticeship wasn’t a path that had crossed my mind until I saw the job ad for Unlocking the Severn. The role was the perfect combination of my interests; however I have a Masters degree and I worried that an apprenticeship would be (if I’m being completely honest here) a step down in my career path.
I have never been so glad to be so wrong!
Where I had been lacking the industry specific skills, my apprenticeship has more than filled the gaps. I have also developed a huge range of transferable skills that will support me in any career. Also my freshwater fish ID has seen a marked improvement – bit niche, but when you know exactly what type of fish is swimming past your face in our underwater viewing gallery, it’s very exciting!
This has been such a unique opportunity. I have been able to combine my interests in wildlife conservation with my creativity and communications skills in a digital marketing role. This is the perfect step towards a career in conservation communications. However, I also have the freedom to take the skills I have learned into the environmental and science sectors, as well as into marketing and communications. For somebody who likes to have many strings to her bow, this is just perfect!
Attending the shad scientific monitoring group meeting at Diglis Island last year.
Exciting things ahead…
I have been able to organise and support a huge array activities so far, and there are plenty more opportunities ahead! With Unlocking the Severn now in its final year, and all four fish passes now open for the fish of the Severn, the next few months are a really important time for the project. Currently, I am working alongside my team to prepare for our jam-packed programme of events this spring, to celebrate the return of the endangered fish – the twaite shad – to the River Severn! I am really enjoying connecting with local people, scientists, and conservation enthusiasts through my apprenticeship with Unlocking the Severn. I cannot wait to share the project with more people when our public tours begin this spring!
Left: Diglis Island workshop. This is our project space, where the Unlocking the Severn team meet and where we are now beginning to hold events and guided tours. Right: Diglis Fish Pass. This structure, with its set of ascending pools, allows fish to bypass the weir on their journey upstream.