Embarking on or advancing a career as a conservationist demands a diverse range of vocational skills that are often neglected in traditional university programs. A recent global survey conducted by WildTeam UK sheds light on the vocational training needs and barriers faced by conservationists, offering valuable insights for capacity-building initiatives.
Spanning from October 2022 to January 2023, this online survey garnered responses from 306 passionate conservationists from 74 countries. The respondents' profiles encompassed a rich diversity of backgrounds, with a varied mix of practitioners, career starters, and career switchers. These conservationists represented diverse organisations, including conservation NGOs, academic institutions, government bodies, and consultancies.
Conservation Training Needs
The survey results highlighted several subjects that conservationists expressed the most desire to receive training in. Monitoring and evaluation, project management, and conservation leadership emerged as their top priorities, indicating a strong drive to develop comprehensive skill sets (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Demand for training in different conservation subjects.
A substantial majority of conservationists expressed a keen interest in enrolling in four or more of the courses offered by WildTeam UK. The respondents believed that acquiring such training would empower them to take on increased responsibilities at work and enhance their career prospects in the conservation field.
The survey shed light on various barriers that conservationists encounter when accessing online training. Foremost among them was the challenge of cost, with only a small fraction of the respondents able to afford the full £220 fee for a WildTeam training course. Additionally, a large proportion of conservationists lacked the financial means to contribute anything towards the cost of training. A limited number of respondents reported that their organisations would potentially cover the expenses, and even less had access to external funding sources. Other barriers identified included constraints on time, inadequate institutional support, limited internet access, language barriers, and limited computer access.
Tthis survey shed light on the pressing training needs and barriers faced by conservationists. The results indicate a strong global demand for comprehensive, conservation-focused vocational training. However, the overwhelming challenge of cost and other barriers highlights the urgency to make training more accessible, particularly for conservationists from developing countries. Overcoming these barriers is crucial to fostering diversity within the conservation sector and mobilising a broader spectrum of professionals to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss effectively.
Global Training Needs Survey Report
You can view the Global Training Needs Survey Report online by clicking here. Or download the report through the link below.
Take Our Survey
If you are a conservation trainer/lecturer then you can also help a lot by filling in this 5 minute survey to help assess the demand for delivering vocational conservation training to university students and practitioners.