New year, new career?

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The beginning of a new year often leads people to reflect on the things that they wish to change or improve on for the forthcoming 12 months. There is a positive correlation between the start of a new year and people beginning to search for a new job, around 64% of people in comparison to the rest of the year.

Whether it’s the ‘grass is greener’ mentality kicking in during the first few days of January, or the dread of returning to work if you’ve been off over the festive period, research suggests that it can take 1-2 years for someone to actually make a career change after they have decided upon it.

In recent years, news stories and events regarding our natural environment and the impact of climate change have been commonplace. More people are not only changing lifestyle habits in a bid to be more environmentally friendly but also looking at how they can create a positive impact on our environment in their careers.

To gain employment within the conservation sector, work experience is a vital part of obtaining a role. Through volunteering with TCV, the skills and knowledge needed to enter the environmental and conservation sectors are readily available.

Some of our volunteers began their time with us to gain this vital experience to pursue a career in the conservation sector.

Josh Thornhill

Josh is a Senior Project Officer with Enabling Projects in Clackmannanshire (EPIC), after leaving his job in sales construction when he realised that measuring success on the spec of the car you drive and the clothes you wore wasn’t for him.

I left my job, made a plan to begin volunteering with as many different types of organisations as it took to find the perfect place for me and, as I have always loved exploring and walking in Scotland, started with TCV. I’ve not needed to look any further.

Josh Thornhill

Through volunteering with TCV, Josh has had the opportunity to discover what he is passionate about and develop those passions into skills and experience and go on to share them with others as a career.

I have continued my exploration of Scotland’s greenspaces but have switched my briefcase for a beard, my brogues for some dirty boots, and my latte for some loppers!

Not only has volunteering allowed him to pursue a career in conservation but also allowed him to achieve his personal goals of becoming healthier, to work with people passionate about what they do, and to make an improvement to the world through his work.

Katie Gargett

In London, Katie felt compelled to leave behind her career in advertising due to her passion for the environment and trying to combat climate change.

Katie began volunteering at the Isleworth Green Gym as a way of gaining experience in the field and to meet people with similar interests. Through volunteering, Katie gained skills in tree identification, planting and how to build a dead hedge; skills that would not have been learnt in the office.

I feel like I learned a lot and met some lovely people. It’s given me a different perspective; I’ve previously only worked in large corporate companies. I was hoping to learn new skills to enable me to find a role in an environmental charity. I have achieved this, so I am very grateful.

Katie Gargett
Katie (left)

Research has shown that people leave their jobs due to their relationship with management, a lack of opportunity to use their skills and abilities and the meaningless of their job, just to name a few. 42% of employees have changed jobs due to the stress of their job.

Ian Price

Ian quit his stressful job in the railway industry, wanting a career change with a specific view to work in the charity and conservation sector.

Ian volunteers with TCV alongside studying Countryside and Wildlife Management at college. The experience gained through volunteering complements the theory Ian learns at college and allows him to put this theory into action.

“Volunteering with TCV Bedford has added to my knowledge about nature and the environment. I hope to use this volunteering experience to pursue a career in conservation.”

And it hasn’t just been conservation skills that Ian has developed through volunteering, but transferable skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication skills.

The team have made me feel welcomed and valued as a volunteer. What I have learnt with TCV Bedford has helped me with my studies. Volunteering has also enabled me to put into action the things I have learnt on my course.

Ian Price

For some people, a change in career has come with a bigger change. Moving to another country sometimes poses the need for a career change.

Anne Aure

In 2018, Anne joined the Camden Green Gym after moving to London from Rio de Janeiro following a health problem. She decided to change her professional life too but was unsure how to go about it.

“I have a background in the corporate world as a civil engineer. Following the move to London, I was looking for a job with purpose but didn’t feel able to do anything. My lack of self-confidence was putting me down all the time.”

Anne Aure

The Green Gym has not only provided Anne with a practical way to improve her English and make new friends but has also allowed her to learn about nature conservation and develop skills related to conservation, community engagement, leadership and mental health.


Anne was quickly identified by the TCV Camden team as having Volunteer Officer material, and she has now joined the TCV staff and a sessional worker.

We all need to have a sense of responsibility for the place we live in and a sense of belonging to a community of people who like doing the same thing as us. I love what I do!

As cited by Prospects, an environmental degree isn’t the only route into the sector and suggests exploring the different paths into environmental work to see which best suits your skills and ambitions.

TCV not only provides a variety of different volunteering opportunities but also training opportunities throughout the UK.

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