Gaining valuable and relevant experience is key to securing the job you want. Read on for more information…

Types of opportunities and where to look

Volunteering often offers a flexible way to ‘test out’ experiences at different organisations or learn new skills. However, paid options are also available — look out for paid work placements, internships and graduate schemes.

If you are interested in an outdoor-based job, any kind of work experience that gets you outdoors will look great on your CV and applications. If you live in the UK, a good place to start looking for opportunities is any of your local nature reserves or green spaces. These are often owned by local councils or NGOs such as the Wildlife Trusts.

It’s not all about outdoors work and getting your hands dirty, however… Opportunities also exist to gain work experience in desk-based roles, campaigning and awareness-raising.

Take a look at the CIEEM Guidance on Undertaking Work Experience to find tips on planning your work experience and what to expect.

Work placements

Roles requiring specialist knowledge and skills such as policy, forestry or data and mapping may require a more formal placement scheme (normally several months long) to get experience. You will need to be proactive in finding these.

For example, you can search for vacancies and formal placement opportunities on environmental job boards and filter the results to find entry-level opportunities. Find more about this on our job vacancies page which outlines the different kinds of vacancies available (including internships, traineeships and more) and where to look for them.

Alternatively, consider researching organisations that you are interested in and ask about opportunities directly.


If you are looking for a short-term, one-off or regular experience, try volunteering, shadowing or seeking a week-long (unpaid) work experience placement. These options offer the chance to try out different kinds of work. You can also learn new skills without the commitment of a longer contract. If you’re a student or already working full-time and looking for opportunities to fit around your existing commitments, this could be a good option for you.

Whilst looking for opportunities, remember that a good volunteer role should work for you. This means the organisation values your contribution and supports you to make the most of the opportunity. Although volunteer opportunities are unpaid, some organisations offer other benefits to volunteers such as expenses for travel and access to equipment.

You might choose to volunteer for an hour to a few hours once a week or once a fortnight over a longer period of time, or you could look out for one-off volunteering opportunities. Every little helps and any experience can be useful to add to a CV.

Where to look for voluntary roles

The following websites list voluntary roles and placements available across the UK:

Contacting local environmental charities and groups involved in local green spaces is also a good place to start. Environmental NGOs such as the following also have volunteering opportunities available across the UK:

To keep up to date with volunteering opportunities from your local environmental charities of interest, follow them on social media (e.g. Facebook, X, LinkedIn and Instagram) or sign up to their newsletters.

You may also find environmental volunteering opportunities via local councils, libraries and Community Voluntary Services organisations, as well as environmental job boards.

Youth Panels and Youth Networks

Youth panels and youth networks also offer opportunities to volunteer and meet like-minded young people across the UK and online. If you don’t feel in the position to volunteer, you can still get involved in networks that interest you through joining their events and following their social media pages to learn more about the environment and the environmental sector.

Here are a few examples:

Know of any youth panels that we missed? Please contact us as we’d love to share them!

For one-off volunteering opportunities and events, be sure to bookmark or subscribe to our linktree page and keep checking back for updates.

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