My COVID-19 SME Internship: Luke – Acer Ecology

Luke, a third year Zoology student, has written about his recent internship experience which was supported by our COVID-19 SME Internship Fund. The aim of this fund is to support local SMEs including charities, social enterprises and start-up who are operating at maximum capacity as they respond to the challenges of Coronavirus, while giving students valuable and meaningful work experiences in a difficult economic climate.

We know that many of you have had your summer internships and work experience cancelled or are struggling to find opportunities. Luke found himself in this situation and our COVID-19 SME Internship Fund offered him a new opportunity.

What was the internship role?

I did my internship with a small ecological consultancy called Acer Ecology based in Cardiff and Bristol. Having lost a similar job I had lined up before the coronavirus outbreak, due to the extenuating circumstances, getting this internship was a lifeline, providing me with valuable hands-on ecological experience from the first day.


During my 4-week internship I gained 25+ hours of bat survey experience, and by my final week, I was leading the surveys. I gained experience in liaising 1-on-1 with clients and tackling the issues that coronavirus produces in the workplace. Also, I undertook bat roost assessments and advised contractors around the clearing of hedgerows after completing a bird and dormouse survey.


Given that ecological consultancy is a required precursor to much of the construction industry, the business was a little unusual in that not much changed in the day-to-day operations. The only real changes were client interactions which had to be socially distanced. Although it is obviously true that this industry does not do as much to help the COVID-19 effort as other industries, keeping construction and renovation occurring and protecting wildlife does have an impact in its own way.


I would definitely recommend applying for a role from the Careers Service internship schemes, particularly at Acer Ecology. Especially at this time, the experience (and the fact that it was a paid position funded by the University) was invaluable. Also having lost the job opportunity before this, it helped bridge the gap between University and the post-COVID workplace very well. I would definitely take up the position again if given the chance.

As Luke discovered, work experience is a great way to engage with the local community, make a difference, develop your skills and earn money. Interested? We are still advertising internship opportunities through mycareer.

If you’re struggling with writing applications, you’ll find some useful resources and events here to help.

Need more support? Ask us a question on mycareer.