Working for the National Trust as an Area Ranger is a very fulfilling and varied role and one of my favourite parts is working with volunteers. This can happen in a variety of ways and I wanted to share with you an insight into the range of people we work with, starting with Full Time Volunteers.
Full Time Volunteers… these tend to be younger people who have just finished or are in the middle of a university course. When starting to look for work, they may well find they meet the academic requirements for environmental and conservation jobs but, by default, are lacking the practical experience. We have also taken on people who, for one reason or another, have decided on a career change. Again they might be looking to gain some practical knowledge or just to confirm that the grass is indeed greener on the other side, before taking the plunge!
This, as with all volunteers, is a tremendous resource to the National Trust. It is great to be able to work with people who are willing to give up their time and enjoy learning something new and to pass on our knowledge and enthusiasm for what is more a vocation than just a job. We support their development by offering accommodation or assistance with travel costs as well as providing certificated training such as the safe use of pesticides and brush cutters; surveying and monitoring skills.
Corporate Groups… an increasing number of large groups from different companies are looking for volunteering opportunities for their staff. These tend to be for a day at a time so are great for getting tasks done that require a large number of hands-on and enthusiastic people. Team building is their primary goal so I tend to give them jobs with an achievable outcome such as painting railings or raking up cut hay meadows.
Retired and part time workers… another invaluable source of help to ours or any other National Trust team. The reasons to volunteer are always varied and can be for social interaction, physical exercise or mental stimulation. Finding time to volunteer can also be hugely rewarding and when people are willing to share their vast wealth of knowledge and experience, we are only too happy to provide them with the opportunity to do so bit.ly/2k89SLP
Simon Rose, Area Ranger