Kickstarting Outdoor Careers
The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) connects people and green spaces to deliver lasting outcomes for both. The charity works with communities and individual volunteers on a variety of projects that focus on:
- Environmental impacts such as increasing an area's biodiversity and planting trees.
- Increasing community cohesion and supporting thousands of Community Network groups across the UK.
- Improving the physical and mental health and wellbeing of volunteers by being active in nature.
- Skills development, whether officially through training courses or by learning various practical and leadership skills when taking part in tasks.
One such programme is the TCV WildSkills traineeship which, for 2021 in England, has been supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery. The traineeship is a year-long programme for 16-29 year olds who have faced some form of barrier to employment.
TCV's six WildSkills trainees are based in Yorkshire and London and are employed by TCV to carry out various projects with volunteers. Alongside their tasks, they receive training and mentoring by TCV's experienced project staff. This programme focuses on learning and skills as an outcome, but the trainees are having a significant environmental impact on the sites and local green spaces where they work.
Elliott, a WildSkills trainee in London, said, "I've always been fascinated by nature, and I want to play a part in protecting and enhancing it.
"TCV's traineeship gives me an opportunity to get structured, practical experience in urban conservation. The programme over the year is jam-packed with practical habitat management, workshops with wildlife experts, and sessions with the public."
TCV's WildSkills trainees are sharing experiences in a blog series - outlining their hopes for the traineeship. Thanks to help from players of People's Postcode Lottery, the trainees have:
- Planted 19,000 trees to create woodland areas on a former colliery spoil heap in Yorkshire.
- Planted 18,000 reeds to create natural water filtration in a Northumbrian lagoon.
- Furthered identification of wildlife.
- Cleared ponds and learned about the importance of this for the surrounding environment.
- Delivered children's education and community events.
- Taken over office social media channels and volunteer recruitment promotion.
The funding TCV receives through the Postcode Earth Trust also supports free membership for TCV's Community Network groups. Other funded projects include TCV's work to ensure volunteering is inclusive, raises the charity's profile and secures more support for its work by increasing understanding of The Conservation Volunteers.