Careers in Geography - Park Warden
Brecon Beacons Park Warden
The National Park Authorities employ a variety of support staff, often local people, to ensure that the range of jobs that need doing to keep visitors safe are completed according to an ever-changing schedule of need.
A lot of these jobs are administrative, but some are very practical and require someone with a breadth of skills, probably developed by working outdoors. Many of these jobs are concerned with the area of managing the National Parks.
There are various pathways that students could take to secure employment in this sort of location. It may be appropriate for students to follow a more vocational route to develop the practical skills that make up an important part of the work carried out in National Park management. One particular pathway which would help develop appropriate skills would be the Environment and Land-based Studies Diploma. Apprenticeships offer on the job training, combining relevant work experience with qualifications.
A key role within National Parks is that of the Park Warden. One way of finding out what a Park Warden does would be to work-shadow them for a period of time. This might prove difficult to organise, but there is a way to 'follow' someone who is doing this job.
A good example of how technology is offering this opportunity can be found in the work of an un-named Park Warden in the Brecon Beacons National Park, whose daily activities are contained in their Twitter feed.
Twitter is a website which allows users to communicate with people who have signed up to 'follow' them and see what they are doing at any given moment. It has been receiving a lot of media coverage through its use by celebrities, but most people who use Twitter do it to make links with like-minded people who are interested in similar activities. It is now being used by organisations as a way of updating customers or members about new activities or offering additional background information on what the company is doing. http://twitter.com
If you visit http://twitter.com/BBParkWarden you can find out what daily tasks are carried out by a warden in the Brecon Beacons, which is one of three Welsh National Parks.
If you have a Twitter account, you can sign up to 'follow' the Park Warden, which means that you will be sent a short message (tweet) whenever the Park Warden says something new.
Look at the Twitter feed and you will see the range of activities that the Warden undertakes from day to day. Each update is limited to just 140 characters, which gives room for a reasonable summary of activity, and they are timed and dated, so a pattern can be developed. You can also see details of the user, and who else is following them.
The particular 'snapshot' of the Warden's Twitter account was taken on 25 March 2010.
If Twitter is blocked in your school, you will need to visit the website in advance and print off the page. One additional activity might be to cut up the page so that students are given a sample of the messages rather than getting the whole lot. An envelope could be handed to each group which contains the updates for a particular period of time, so that the varied nature of the role could be highlighted.
Please ensure that your students use Twitter responsibly and encourage them not to share too much personal information - remember that unless you protect them, your tweets are public. Further information about using Twitter safely is available here.
Student Activity: Using Twitter for Job Research
This activity is suitable for KS3 and 4 students and can be done in the classroom or as a homework task.
First of all, sign up for a Twitter account - this is completely free and there are no age restrictions. Identify between five and ten companies you'd really like to work for, then 'follow' them on Twitter. You can usually find out if they use Twitter by visiting their website and looking for links, or by using Twitter's search facility. Some organisations you might like to follow include Natural England, UK National Parks and Ordnance Survey.
There's an increasing trend for organisations to advertise job vacancies via Twitter, and you'll probably be one of the first to hear about it if they do, giving you vital preparation time if you want to apply. Even if job adverts are few and far between, following an organisation on Twitter is a great way to find out about what they do - something which can prove very useful for job applications and interviews.
Further information and FAQs are available from Twitter Support.
Further Student Activities
Connection to KS3 Programme of Study
These activities provide an opportunity for students to:
- Build on and expand their personal experiences of geography
- Explore real and relevant contemporary contexts
- Use varied resources
Download: Student Activities (PDF)
Read more about the Brecon Beacons National Park on the official website.
View this Warden's Handbook, printed in 1977. It gives an interesting insight into the range of jobs that a Warden is expected to be able to deal with competently. How might some of these tasks have altered since 1977? How will they be different in 2027?
Statutory Guidance for Impartial Careers Education
This activity will contribute to the following learning outcomes:
1.1 are able to investigate opportunities for learning and work on their own
2.1 understand what motivates them, their strengths and and their learning/work preferences
2.3 understand the skills and qualifications they need to pursue their ambitions
4.1 have been positively challenged to consider opportunities that they may not otherwise have considered
6.1 understand the relevance to their future lives of each part of the curriculum