A breath of fresh air: how to find countryside jobs
13 Apr 2021
Like millions of others you may have found an escape from the stress and boredom of the pandemic lockdowns by heading outdoors. Whether it’s on a balcony or the beach, local park or National Park, footpath or pavement, the benefits to physical and mental health are real.
According to charity Mind, being outdoors can lower stress, improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. So if you’re a new fan of outdoor life then why not consider making it your workplace as well as your playground?
Decide whether it's right for you
The range of outdoor jobs is vast. To name just a few: gardener, dog walker, farmworker, conservation officer, construction worker, outdoor activity instructor.
But first you should do a mental checklist to see if the outdoor life is for you. Ask yourself:
- Do you enjoy being active rather than sitting at a desk?
- Do you value feeling connected to nature?
- Is it important for you to stay in good physical health?
- Do you appreciate experiencing the changing seasons?
- Can you see yourself in a role that isn’t chained to a computer?
- Are you prepared to work in Winter weather too?
If the answer to most of these questions is ‘Yes’ then the next step is to consider if you have, or can get, the skills needed for many outdoor careers.
Look up the National Careers Service
The National Careers Service
is great for advice on how you can get into the environment and land sector. Specialist qualifications will of course be useful in those sectors, but you can get jobs, such as gardening, with few, if any, formal qualifications.
What will give you the edge is experience, and often the best place to start is by volunteering. Volunteers are a vital element in the countryside sector so there are lots of opportunities to get some valuable skills under your belt.
You can volunteer for a couple of hours a week or more, so there’s the flexibility to gain experience whatever other demands you have on your time. There are literally thousands of outdoor volunteering opportunities. A good place to start looking is the doit.life website.
Take a look at one of our other blogs that explains how volunteering is great for your health and wellbeing too, not just your CV
Research and demonstrate your passion and experience
If volunteering isn’t your thing then find another way to demonstrate your passion. If you want to be a gardener then grow something – whether it’s in a window box or your (or a friendly neighbour’s) garden.
If you want to work in the wildlife sector then study what you can find around you – urban foxes and badgers, pond creatures, visitors to your bird table.
So, you’ve got the desire, you’ve got the skills and you’ve got some experience, now you need to find the jobs. A good place to start is the website Countryside Jobs Link
which has lots of tips and a handy list of jobsites and employers offering part-time, seasonal or permanent positions.
If you have a particular organisation you’d like to work for, such as the National Trust or National Trust for Scotland, regional Wildlife Trusts or the Environment Agency, sign up for their job alerts and follow them on social media.