NEWS: Exciting environmental work placements open for people across the UK

Sixty people are being encouraged to apply for a new work placement opportunity to help boost diversity in the environmental sector.

New to Nature has opened the doors for people from under-represented backgrounds, enabling them to undertake paid work placements across the natural environment and landscape sector. Those who are from ethnic minority backgrounds, disabled or from low-income homes are being encouraged to apply.

The programme is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and being delivered by community charity, Groundwork in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, Mission Diverse, Disability Rights UK and the Youth Environmental Service.

Roles with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), The Woodland Trust, Bat Conservation Trust, City Of Trees, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the National Trust are on offer as well as other exciting placements, offering varied and innovative opportunities for young up and down the UK.

Ten people have started on their journey through the programme at organisations through the first programme cohort, including WWF-UK, CPRE and the British Ecological Society.

Growing green careers

Ferozah recently started as a project officer at WWF-UK. They will be working on an upcoming UK nature public campaign, an inclusive engagement campaign in partnership with the National Trust and RSPB. Ferozah, 22, will gain experience by working across a range of campaign activities to help engage the public and inspire communities to take action that brings UK nature back to life.

Ferozah said: “New to Nature has provided an incredible opportunity to begin my career in the environmental sector. I studied Ecology at university, however I was apprehensive for my early career as I felt underrepresented and did not see many opportunities for people like me. Through my placement with WWF-UK, I am receiving excellent support and guidance in a positive and enriching environment, which is helping to build my confidence and develop my skills. I have gained a role within a fantastic organisation, and I am looking forward to the future ahead.”

David Blackmore, Head of Sustainable Careers at WWF-UK, added: “We are really pleased to be a host organisation for New to Nature initiative and to be part of a programme that increases diversity and enriches the environmental sector. Securing an entry level position in the sector can be challenging and competitive, so we wanted to provide a development opportunity that is a great way for someone to get started on their career journey. We also want to showcase the range of exciting careers available in environmental charities, especially to those that may not have necessarily considered a career in the sector, including underrepresented groups. We are delighted to have Ferozah join our team and look forward to their contribution on this campaign and supporting their development throughout the placement.”

Alanis, 22, has started a new role with CPRE, the countryside charity working in their external affairs team – which includes their public campaigning and political lobbying.

Alanis said: “I’ve always been really interested in sustainability and social housing, so I was very excited to find out I’ve been offered the role for External Affairs Assistant at CPRE. I’m particularly impressed by the work they do to improve these sectors by influencing policy so I’m looking forward to contribute to it and make a positive impact.”

Sarah McMonagle, Acting Director of Campaigns & Policy at CPRE added: “We’re passionate about improving access to nature and creating a countryside for all – so that everyone can benefit from time outside regardless of their background. But to do that, we also need to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in our charity – which for too long has been dominated by white, middle class people. “With that in mind, we completely reimagined our grad scheme two years ago to create a new, more diverse, ‘Green Shoots’ scheme, which is particularly aimed at attracting people of colour into our organisation – and people who apply no longer require a degree. Now in its second year, we’re really excited to welcome Alanis to CPRE with support from New to Nature. We know Alanis will bring fresh ideas and thinking to our campaigning work and we can’t wait to see what she achieves.”

Increasing diversity in the green sector

Creating accessible pathways into entry-level roles is one of the key tools to increase diversity in the sector, offering people the opportunity to gain paid experience in a sector they might not otherwise have considered or been able to access.

Current research shows that 57% of disabled people feel excluded from being able to reduce their environmental impact and 7% of environment professionals are from ethnic minority backgrounds. This innovative new initiative aims to both inspire and show young people who aren’t the typical demographic that green jobs are accessible and exciting, as well as increasing the diversity of the green sector.

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s UK Chief Executive, said: “One of the primary challenges for the environmental sector is to inspire and mobilise more people to connect with and care for nature so that we can make more rapid progress on reversing biodiversity loss and mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. We’ll only be successful in this if we can make the issues real and relevant to people’s lives, which in turn means bringing a more diverse set of voices and perspectives into the sector. I’m really delighted that we’re able to provide this opportunity for young people, who might not otherwise get the chance, to gain experience and start building their career.”

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “From the start, this has been a key project for us to support. The environment is for everyone, and it is so important to have a diverse range of voices involved in the care and sustaining of our precious natural heritage.  It is especially important to support those who might find it more challenging to gain a foothold on the ladder, and so it is wonderful to welcome the first ten young people who start in their new roles in such exciting organisations.  There are 60 more placements to come, and we are excited to see how this innovative project will develop.  We wish all the young people well and know they will bring new insights and freshness in caring for nature and provide a lasting legacy for the Jubilee year.”

As the National Lottery Heritage Fund looks to launch its first ten-year strategy in the coming months, partnership working with expert organisations such as Groundwork, along with the ability to react quickly will be key in delivering crucial funding to the heritage sector where it is needed most.

Find out more about New to Nature and the current placements

Notes to Editors

If you have any further questions please email: 


57% of disabled people feel excluded from being able to reduce their environmental impact

7% of environment professionals are from ethnic minority backgrounds

About Groundwork

Groundwork is a federation of charities mobilising practical community action on poverty and the environment across the UK.

Groundwork is passionate about creating a future where every neighbourhood is vibrant and green, every community is strong and able to shape its own destiny, and no-one is held back by their background or circumstances.

The charity helps people to gain confidence and skills, get into training and work, protect and improve green spaces, lead more active lives and overcome significant challenges such as poverty, isolation, low skills and poor health:

About New to Nature

New to Nature will offer new, full-time, temporary work placements in nature and landscape organisations across the UK, aiming to increase diversity and enrich the environmental sector.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the celebrations to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, the programme will run until May 2024 and will provide paid work placements for at least 70 people, targeting young people from diverse backgrounds to undertake a range of environmental roles.

New to Nature will be delivered through a partnership of Groundwork, The Prince’s Trust, Disability Rights UK, and Mission Diverse. Find out more: 

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future:

As part of the National Lottery’s £22million investment to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, The National Lottery Heritage Fund is investing £7m to create a lasting legacy for communities and nature across the UK. The funding will empower disadvantaged communities to take action for nature on their doorsteps and enable 70 young people to undertake paid placements in the nature heritage sector.