How to get your dream job working in conservation

PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 September 2020

Trainees at workon the mosslands for the Carbon Landscape Partnership

Trainees at workon the mosslands for the Carbon Landscape Partnership

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Practical experience can be key to landing your dream job in conservation, says Becky Royce of the Carbon Landscape Partnership.

Trainees at workcutting reeds at Wigan Flashes for the Carbon Landscape PartnershipTrainees at workcutting reeds at Wigan Flashes for the Carbon Landscape Partnership

In today’s work environment, your education is only the first step in getting a job in your dream career, especially for those looking to get into conservation. What organisations are really looking for is hands-on practical experience. Without this, many people may struggle to make that first step in their career.

The Carbon Landscape Partnership is a National Lottery Heritage Funded project, which began in 2016 and is based at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust office in Wigan and covers areas of Wigan, Warrington and Salford. With 14 organisations coming together and a dedicated programme team, this five-year project had a lot of goals.

One of these was to help local people to gain the hands on experience they need to make that first step in their careers, which is part of my job as a placement co-ordinator.

Building on the Trust’s years of experience of supporting individuals into their conservation carers, our aim was to guide and support nine trainees over three years, taking three on each year. We would help them gain the skills they needed to get a job within conservation. To do this we helped them create portfolios of their work, gave them a training budget and presented them with targets to meet; for example, hectares of habitats improved and engagement of people through events and training. This would not only give them valuable experience but would help the project too.

Trainees at worklaying a hedge for the Carbon Landscape PartnershipTrainees at worklaying a hedge for the Carbon Landscape Partnership

It has been an amazing three years and I’ve had the privilege of working with 10 fantastic trainees. We were very lucky for some trainees to find their dream jobs early which gave us the opportunity to take on someone extra in the final year. They all worked so hard and brought so much to the project, which saw them all work together to smash their targets. Nine of these trainees went on to get jobs with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Natural England, the Mersey Rivers Trust, Groundworks or Inspiring Communities Together. I’m confident my final trainee will find employment very
soon but he’s just moved to another country.

Traineeships are a great way to get hands-on experience – not just of practical habitat work or leading groups, but also learning how to write funding applications, how to produce risk assessments or even answering the phones. All our trainees kept a blog about their time with us and that gives a great insight into what prospective future trainees could expect – you can find it at wordpress.com/carbonlandscapetrainees.

We are now campaigning for the creation of ‘green jobs’ to be part of the Build Back Better campaign and we hope this will lead to many more traineeship opportunities in the future.

Get involved

The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is dedicated to the protection and promotion of the wildlife in Lancashire, seven boroughs of Greater Manchester and four of Merseyside, all lying north of the River Mersey. It manages around 40 nature reserves and 20 Local Nature Reserves covering acres of woodland, wetland, upland and meadow. The Trust has 29,000 members, and over 1,200 volunteers.

To become a member of the Trust go to the website at lancswt.org.uk or call 01772 324129.

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