Before joining Green Thinkers, Tom was working with young people via his local church. When thinking about his career he knew he wanted it to have a youth or community focus but was also interested in the environmental sector. Although he knew the areas he was interested in, he wasn’t sure about how to get there or where he might gain some experience or support. Fortunately, whilst meeting for coffee with his friends he saw a leaflet for the Green Thinkers programme.
“I was intrigued right away, so got in contact and signed up to the next available cohort!’’
Tom used the time in sessions across the 6-week programme, to ask lots of questions. He spoke to Rangers in the National Trust, Head Gardeners at local parks and community-based, environmental volunteers to find out how they got into what they did. From this he discovered there were many different routes to gaining experience and ultimately a job in the fields he was interested in.
“I absolutely loved it! The sessions were a great combination of learning more about why sustainable environmental solutions are so important and getting stuck in with environmental initiatives around Plymouth. As well as seeing just how much is already going on, it’s been really helpful to talk to people in a variety of roles and learn more about how they became involved in different things.’’
Alongside, learning practical skills, Tom took part in the Green Thinkers, green space challenge. This sets young people the task of redesigning a local green space, to encourage a wide range of community members to use it, to create engagement and a sense of community ownership and increase biodiversity. For Tom this task helped him build his confidence, enabling him to draw on and practically use some of the skills he had already developed.
‘’I really enjoyed our group project, aimed at regenerating an urban space for “green” community use: it was so rewarding to combine our skills, and produce something constructive, when starting out feeling underqualified!’’
Since taking part in Green Thinkers, Tom is in conversations with the National Trust about volunteering on a community forest school programme, he has volunteered at Ocean Studios for the Print in Action Festival. He is now in full time employment and is applying for a master’s degree in environmental management.
Through taking part in tasks that might be slightly out of his comfort zone he has built his confidence, through his curiosity he has begun to understand the path he needs to take to get the kind of job he wants and finally by working through employability activities, has honed his application and interview skills.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
National Lottery Heritage Fund