Our trainees: Abi's story

Abi joined The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside as a Practical Conservation Trainee in 2021 thanks to funding through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. This is her story...

After graduating from university with a degree in chemistry and spending several years pursuing a laboratory-based career I realised that I wasn’t happy. I quit my job, began volunteering in practical conservation to nurture my passion for nature and being outdoors and started studying towards a master’s degree in conservation biology. My mental health improved immediately and it was so rewarding to have a positive impact on nature through my volunteering work and to be learning more about biodiversity conservation and climate change through my studies. My decision to change careers has been the best I ever made and I haven’t looked back since!

Abi Cutler

Why did you apply?

I applied for the practical conservation trainee role to take my first steps on the conservation career ladder. This has been my first paid role in conservation and I wanted to develop my practical and professional skills to increase my employability and enhance my CV. I had been volunteering for a year and a half when I applied for this role and I was ready to take on more responsibility and increase my knowledge.

What have you enjoyed?

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know our volunteers, the Philips Park site, and the community groups involved in it. Philips Park is an amazing place and I’ve learned a lot from the people I met there about the value of community engagement and volunteering. I have also really enjoyed my time as a Lancashire Wildlife Trust staff member, it’s been inspiring to be around so many like-minded people. I’ve learned so much and made friends for life.

What lessons have you learned?

I’ve learned a lot about how a nature-focused NGO operates, having been involved in the practical side of nature conservation for a while it’s been really useful to learn more about the way projects and funding work. I’ve also gained a lot of experience in project management which has directly helped me to find my next role along with adding to my ecological knowledge and practical skills. This role has helped me to see what kind of direction I want to go in for my career and has helped inform my professional choices.

What are your hopes for the future?

I have recently managed to secure a role as a project manager and I’m really excited to move on and take the next step in my career. I want to keep on learning and developing myself, it’s amazing how much you can learn in one year! My main interests are landscape-scale conservation and species recovery projects, and one day I hope to move back home to Snowdonia to work in a role related to these kinds of projects.