In celebration of 20 years of Forestry at WIT, we talk to Stacey Bradley, forest resource manager with Irish Forestry Unit Trust (IForUT)
Stacey Bradley has always been interested in forestry and considers her job as a forest resource manager to be her dream job. In her opinion a willingness to work hard, the ability to work well in a team and having a ‘can-do’ attitude will get you far in any job. "A good attitude towards work will get a job done and get it done well," she says.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
I have great variety in my job so there isn't a typical day. Some of my responsibilities include Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping, forest inspections, forest inventory updates, Forest Certification administration such as management plans, auditing and assisting other members of IForUT staff.
What are the main challenges?
Dealing with difficult people can be tough, particularly people who have no interest or a dislike of the forestry industry. Managing my time and workload wisely is challenging from time to time.
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
I can work well in a team and can communicate well. I'm self-motivated, typically I see what needs to be done and take the initiative to do it.
Having the opportunity to develop my skills and learn new things. I have lots of variety in my day to day work. There is a great culture in the organisation.
How did you go about getting your current job?
I saw that IForUT were hiring. I sent in my CV and expressed my interest in the position advertised. I had a few informal meetings and phone conversations with the IForUT staff to get a feel for the job and the organisation as we both wanted to be sure that I would be a good fit for the job and the organisation. I was asked if I would be interested in coming in for a formal interview, which I did and I was offered the job shortly after.
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
I wouldn’t say milestones but I certainly had times where I had to make tough decisions about my career. The standout moments were those in which I was contemplating a change in job. It’s nerve-wracking when you’re on the brink of deciding to leave a good job in pursuit of another one or a change of direction. Those kinds of decisions gave me some sleepless nights but I was fortunate that everything worked out for the best.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
I always had an interest in forestry and the environment. Someone who had a big impact on my decision to pursue forestry at third level was the career guidance counsellor in my secondary school, Ms Carroll. My college lecturers and work colleagues were most influential once I entered college and moved into the workforce, as they opened my eyes to opportunities available and offered me great advice and encouragement when I needed it.
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
Education and training
What is your education to date?
Level 7 degree, Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Waterford Institute of Technology and I progressed to the level 8 one year add-on, honours degree programme in Land Management in Forestry in WIT.
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
The practical aspects of the forestry courses in WIT such as field trips, lab practicals, GIS classes have been massively beneficial and have enabled me to hit the ground running in my job. Also, the field trip elements in that course also gave us exposure to the industry so upon leaving college I had a certain amount of commercial awareness and knowledge about forestry organisations which helped me in job searches.
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
My employer places great importance on professional development and continuous improvement so I have had the opportunity to do several further training courses during the course of my job.
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
Being offered a job and such moments are the most significant but I find the everyday things the most rewarding like completing a project, passing audits or giving a presentation to a group etc.
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
A good work ethic and a determination to succeed and to do the best job I possibly can. I have good ability to work with others. Also, I'm enthusiastic about learning and developing my skills and knowledge base.
What is your dream job?
My current job is my dream job, particularly because there are plentiful opportunities for me to learn and develop.
Advice for others
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
A willingness to work hard and work smart coupled with the ability to work well in a team will get you far not just in a job like my own but in any job. In my opinion, the most important characteristic is a positive "can-do" attitude. A good attitude towards work will get a job done and get it done well. In addition, it keeps you moving and pursuing goals even when difficulties arise.
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
Get as much experience on the ground as you can. Being able to work well with GIS and large amounts of data is also extremely beneficial. Maintain a willingness to learn about forestry and technology.
These WIT Forestry graduate testimonials were compiled by the Forestry Careers Promotion Group to mark the 20-year anniversary of Forestry courses at WIT in 2018.