When Holly found herself in the age-old predicament of needing experience to get a job but needing a job to get experience once completing her degree, she felt like she was getting nowhere. It wasn’t until she went for support from the National Careers service who pointed her in the direction of Real Ideas, that she found out about Green Thinkers and jumped at the chance to join and try something different.

‘‘I loved Green Thinkers, it showed up at the perfect time in my life and it got me out of a very lonely and repetitive head space. My favourite aspect was rekindling my love of the outdoors!’’

After spending 2 days a week for 6 weeks learning about urban green spaces, working on her employability skills and working with organisations such as the National Trust and Plymouth City Council gaining practical work experience, Holly found herself applying for a Plymouth Natural Grid Assistant Kickstart role.

‘’I heard about the kick-start placement directly from the Green Thinkers programme. I had never even heard of kick-start before this year.’’

‘’The placement itself was a complete stroke of luck for me. It was so fun I met some amazing people and it’s an experience I will never forget. I learnt so many useful skills and gained so much knowledge of British woodland and countryside that have set me up to be able to apply for the jobs I want.’’

In her Kickstart role Holly worked 2 days a week with National Trust Rangers and Plymouth City Council Natural Infrastructure team, as part of her job Holly supported the management of Plymouths Nature reserves and woodland, underwent various training in identification and foraging and supported the delivery of environmental engagement events with communities, families and schools.

Alongside her placement, and as part of her Kickstart role, Holly spent 1 day a week, with Real Ideas for in-work support – ‘’The in-work support was the perfect motivation for me to actually get work done. I struggle to motivate myself a lot and having a set day where I could go to a place without home distractions and get work done in a friendly environment was extremely helpful to me.’’ During this time Holly and other Kickstarts, worked on individual skills, CV writing, Job application practice and designing their own environmental events.

Through all her hard work and throwing herself into opportunities that came her way Holly finally landed a job with Plymouth City Council in their Natural Infrastructure Team. ‘’ I am now working for Plymouth City Council full time as a Project Assistant at Central Park. This occurred due to my success on the kickstart placement’’

We asked Holly, what advise she might have for anyone else looking to get into a green job, here’s what she said:

  1. Volunteering – find organisations, particularly ones you’d like to work for like the National Trust or community organisations and spend some time volunteering with them, it allows you to gain experience and skills whilst networking and meeting people.
  2. Take Training courses – free training courses are everywhere from wildflower ID, gardening and animal care. This shows your dedication to the sector and allows you to gain new knowledge along the way
  3. Prepare – make sure your CV, cover letter and personal statement are relevant and up to date.

Want to find out more about Green Thinkers? Click here.


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
National Lottery Heritage Fund
Nature Plymouth