Growing up on a farm in Greater Manchester instilled my passion for protecting the natural world. After pursuing a degree in engineering and a career as an Environmental Consultant for over four years, I realised I wasn't happy, and it was damaging my mental health. I quit my job to pursue opportunities where I could be myself and use my natural creativity, empathy, and communication skills to help nature thrive. The timing was almost perfect when I saw the advertised traineeship; it has been the best career decision I've made!
Our trainees: Sarah's story
Why did you apply?
I saw the exciting Kingfisher Trail roles advertised, considering retraining to a more practical conservation role and figuring out what skills I needed to develop. I was amazed to see I ticked nearly all the boxes for the communications and engagement role, which sounded so creative and interesting and aligned with my values to protect nature.
What have you enjoyed?
I've had too many 'pinch me' moments to count, but firstly, the people who work and volunteer in conservation are incredibly kind and inspiring. Developing nature-based trails for young families and creating engaging content has been incredible, especially using my natural creative and organisational skills to support important nature recovery projects. I've thoroughly enjoyed joining volunteering days, getting to know the volunteers and developing case studies and videos to bring the team's fantastic work to life. I've learned so much about nature conservation and made friends for life.
What lessons have you learned?
Coming from a career change, I was nervous about being the oldest in the room or not knowing enough. In fact, I have loved starting as a beginner. I never once felt I couldn't ask a question or been intimidated by everyone's nature knowledge but simply in awe and thankful for a fantastic team. I've learned a lot about how a nature-focused NGO operates and learned more about how projects and funding work. I've combined my previous project management and organisational skills with creative and empathy abilities, leading to me producing work I am very proud of and aligning with my values. Finally, I’ve learned that any walk with a nature conservationist takes at least twice as long.
What are your hopes for the future?
Making one scary, good decision often leads to a path of many more. I have booked a fascinating couple of training courses in science filmmaking and nature conservation communications and constantly want to learn and develop myself. It is a solemn fact that nature conservation is difficult to gain permanent positions, especially when the climate and ecological crisis needs long-term investment and funding to recover and thrive. I am hopeful to have an exciting career in nature conservation or science communications and work with inspiring nature and people. I have learned that it will be the right path if my future role aligns with my skills and personal values.
Sarah now works as a Communications Officer at The Woodland Trust.