Working for nature

Let's pass on the skills

Learning how to survey, Matthew Roberts

Working for nature

Our Working for Nature trainee scheme is an excellent opportunity to spend a year working alongside our team and volunteers, developing professional skills to help take that first step to a career in conservation.

We're excited to offer full-time, funded traineeships based at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to gain a Level 2 Diploma in Work-based Environmental Conservation and receive a tax-free bursary of over £10,000.  No previous qualifications are required - in fact this is an opportunity for people who don't have any qualifications in conservation.  You just need to be over 18, have enthusiasm for the natural world and be ready to learn new skills.

Let us tell you more...

Why are we doing this?

The fascinating programme came about because we are concerned that important conservation skills may be lost from generation to generation unless there is an appetite for people to study conservation and carry them forward. Along with this, the team wanted to ensure that people who have struggled to get a formal education would have a chance at taking part and gain lifelong skills.

Conservation is such a difficult profession to get into – so many people want to be part of the movement but there are so few opportunities for free or cost effective training and even fewer opportunities for employment. We are hoping to address that. 

John Muir Discovery Award

We are also going to help 100 people take part in the John Muir Discovery Award.


What are the requirements?

Each round of training runs from September - July. 

The Working for Nature project training is open to anyone:

  • over the age of 18 with a real passion for the natural world and conservation 
  • who has not received graduate level education (if you have a degree, you may be interested in Derbyshire Wildlife Trusts’ volunteer trainee scheme 
  • who can commit to a full time schedule (or part time on request) of training starting in September.

Will I get paid?

Yes you will! 

Thanks to the funding from National Lottery we are able to give a bursary of £10,875 to each successful applicant to cover their year working with us. 

Sharron's story

Hi, my name is Sharron and I am placed with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. In my past I have been actively volunteering for over 10 years in the UK and overseas. I chose the traineeship to gain experience, certificates, skills and qualifications to help in my career change into becoming a full time conservationist. I am very passionate about doing something to improve the current situation faced by the wildlife in the UK. I am delighted that I have the opportunity to retrain with a great Trust in such a fantastic location. Since starting the traineeship I have been working closely with conservation experts, alongside volunteers and reserve managers and we have been undertaking activities such as  Hedge laying, Fence repairs, Pond management, Wooden construction, Meadow clearance and identification classes.

There is so much more to experience and learn. No two days are the same.

Completing the traineeship will be an incredibly important achievement that will help me to have a better understanding of biodiversity, habitats climate change, legislation and ecosystem services. It could also support me in securing a permanent role in environmental conservation.

James' story

Hi my name is James and I’m based at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust as a Working for Nature trainee. I chose this traineeship as I have a keen interest in our natural world and would like to gain the skills to access a career in conservation.  I left school with a few GCSE’s and entered the construction trade working in various roles.  After About 10 years in the construction industry I decided to travel abroad and volunteer on wildlife projects. Working alongside people who had put their own lives on the line to devote their time to working with nature was an inspiring experience and encouraged me to change my career path.

While I knew I wanted to work in the field of conservation I struggled to get a foot in the door as I do not have the relevant qualifications. The Working For Nature project will help me to gain the relevant skills and knowledge to enable me to access a career in conservation.

Over the last few weeks we have worked alongside employees and volunteers to assist on nature reserves that have required maintaining to restore habitat and encourage native species on to the land. These initial few weeks have given a great insight into what it takes to look after the nature reserves and how the work of staff and volunteers can transform an area of land in a few hours. 

Everyone involved in the trust has a diverse range of knowledge and specialist in their own areas of interest. It has been great learning about the local land and its diverse range of species and habitat,  this has inspired me to further my understanding and I aim to encourage others to learn and find out more about nature. 

From feeding cows, to fixing fencepost to finding out about fungi, there is lots to learn on the Working for Nature programme and I am looking forward to gaining further skills to start a career in conservation.

Great, how do I apply?...

Applications for this year’s traineeship were due to open in June.  However, due to coronavirus restrictions this is currently postponed.  More information will be posted here when lockdown restrictions are eased and we are able to continue with recruitment.  Please check here for more information and if you have any questions about the traineeship, please email Laura Jones on

With thanks to

The fascinating project has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players through The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund logo
The Wildlife Trusts believe that people are part of nature; everything we value ultimately comes from it and everything we do impacts upon it.
The Wildlife Trusts

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