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Do I need a driving licence to get a countryside job?

Matthew Chatfield
Latest posts by Matthew Chatfield (see all)

It’s possibly one of the most common question that people looking for a job ask The Ranger – both online and in real life. Lots of us fancy a career in countryside work – and it’s a good job we do, as we sure don’t do it for the money. For general advice on this topic, see Naturenet’s popular page, ‘Get a job working in the countryside industry: Naturenet shows you how‘.

Stephen Brown ADI, Driving instructor

But invariably, hopefuls will ask one particular question: do I need a driving licence? Well, at least there’s a honest answer. The answer is yes. Yes, you do. You really do. You need to be able to drive to work outdoors, to work on a farm, or to be a ranger or a forester. Your depot or office is unlikely to be where your work is – you’ve got to get to it somehow. Not just to drive from one place to another, but also to drive within a site, and to tow a trailer (although that’s another licence, usually), or operate machinery, or go and pick stuff up… all sorts of things. Of course, there’s a good number of jobs where it isn’t essential – perhaps where you always work alongside someone else who drives, or you only work in one place. Or as an education officer, taking school groups, or a visitor centre manager. But these jobs are relatively few, and there are a lot of licence-less hopefuls chasing them – as well as plenty of people just as well qualified as you who do also have a licence. What’s more, imagine the kind of place you’re likely to get a job. In the middle of town? Almost unknown. Near a railway station? Well, conceivably. Near a bus stop? Well, sure, but how often are the buses? You see where this is going? It’s going just where you will be if you want to get to work in the morning – towards public transport. And as most countryside jobs are by definition out in the country, this means you’re going to have to get up fearfully early to get to work if that’s the only way to get there. Actually, let’s be honest – you probably can’t get there at all so it isn’t really going to happen, is it? Not unless your mum takes you to work each morning. And that would be just too humiliating. So, there’s a clear message to job-seekers wondering about their next option. Thinking of a degree in countryside management? Maybe a MSc? Sponsored bike ride to Burkino Fasso? Fine, do it if you want to. It won’t make much difference if you can’t drive. If you want to stand a chance of getting a good job this should be your first investment of time and money: GET A LICENCE.

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

2 thoughts on “Do I need a driving licence to get a countryside job?

  • joe

    Thank you for the insight Treehugger- I was looking into a career change and re-training, ecology and countryside management was one option, however I was concerned at the possible lack of employment upon qualifying. I too have a mortgage and bills to pay, so many hours of unpaid work is not an option.

  • Treehugger

    You don’t just need a driving licence – you need to be in a position to work for no money – I wish people had been more honest with me about work prospects when I was working for my HND in Countryside Management – despite doing part-time paid work, a full-time HND and part-time voluntary work during my course (as well as being a single parent) – I was told I needed more experience of working on community projects when I failed to even get an interview for one apparently ideal tree-related job shortly after I finished my course. Sadly, with a mortgage to pay I couldn’t afford to do yet more work for free. I am now doing unrelated temp work, despite having a prior degree and my CM HND and a previously well-paid job. Be aware that this work seems to be the preserve of either the well-to-do or young with no financial responsibilities.


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