Suffolk Wildlife Trust is Suffolk’s nature charity – the only organisation dedicated wholly to safeguarding Suffolk’s wildlife and countryside.
We make a difference for Suffolk by:
- Managing nature reserves and securing a bigger, better and more connected landscape for wildlife
- Inspiring the next generation of conservationists through our education centres and work with community groups
Our vision for Suffolk is a Living Landscape - a joined up landscape where species can expand their range and move through a wildlife-rich countryside along networks of linked habitat.
Our targeted efforts for some of Suffolk’s most recognisable species, like barn owl, dormouse, hedgehog and water vole will help to secure this.
We are primarily funded by members’ subscriptions and donations, and grants. Income from legacy gifts is set aside for projects which make a lasting difference to wildlife like buying or enlarging nature reserves.
Our members and volunteers are the Trust, and we cherish them. They are our local voice and our local ambassadors. As keen observers of our day to day activity, they keep us true to our values and ensure accountability at every level of the organisation.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust volunteers give 19,500 days (or 53 years) to nature conservation every year!
- Woods are coppiced... butterflies are recorded... orchids are counted... phones are answered... by our volunteers!
- Magazines are delivered... fences are mended... events are organised... sheep are checked... by our volunteers!
- Hides are built... paths are mowed...hedges are planted...children are inspired... by our volunteers!
Conservation volunteering is a great way to keep fit, make new friends, enjoy the outdoors and learn new skills.
Read more about how you can get involved on our Volunteering Page, you can also read about the experiences of some our volunteers and view our current volunteer vacancies.
Learning Team Voluntary Internships
Applications for Voluntary Learning Internships for 2022 are now closed. Recruitment for next year will open in January 2023. This year's Internships run from 7 March 2022 - 9 September 2022.
Are you looking to develop your knowledge, skills and experience to gain future employment in the Outdoor Learning sector?
Many talented people want to pursue a career with a conservation organisation but lack the necessary skills and experience. Our voluntary internships provide essential skills and experience required through work based learning and training. The hugely successful voluntary internship scheme has been in a place for a number of years and we are proud that so many of our interns have gone on to develop their careers in conservation.
About the scheme
The scheme provides seven internships across Suffolk at our learning centres, in Ipswich parks and green spaces. Voluntary interns generally attend three days a week for six months from 7 March to 9 September. They undertake practical experience and training that will boost their chances of successfully gaining paid employment on completion.
The mix of activities varies, depending on the voluntary intern's placement and location. The placements vary significantly and the intern may be based at a learning centre on a nature reserve or at our head office covering sites across Ipswich.
Experience gained will be relevant to the nature and location of each internship.
Interns will assist the Wild Learning Officer in:
- Planning, developing and delivering high quality, inspiring learning opportunities for children young people, adults and families, including schools.
- Developing and delivering an activity-based family learning programme at weekends and throughout the school holidays
- Developing relevant learning activities for organisations working with individuals and groups with special interests
- Planning, developing and delivering a programme of meaningful learning activities and extended learning opportunities for schools from Early Years to A level
- Harnessing social media networks to promote and celebrate activities and reach beyond our current audience
- Supporting and supervising volunteers to assist with developing and delivering learning opportunities at our reserves and other local sites
Interns will play a full and active role in the Trust’s learning team, attending meetings and undertaking Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as appropriate. Delivering activities at large events at other centres and at county events, including the Suffolk Show and Latitude.
During their placement, interns are expected to maintain and promote the high standards of Suffolk Wildlife Trust and deputise for the Wild Learning Officer, where necessary.
What training is offered
In addition to the skills acquired through work based learning, the scheme also develops skills through training. All voluntary interns have a two day induction programme at our head office near Ipswich.
Training opportunities include:
- Induction days
- Level 3 Award in Outdoor Curriculum Coordination (OCN West Midlands Accredited)
- Level 1 Award in Forest School Principles
- Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene and Allergy Awareness
- Safeguarding, including PREVENT training
- Choice of one Suffolk Wildlife Trust Wild learning course
- 20% discount off other SWT accredited training courses
Individual Personal Development Plan
At the start of the voluntary internship each intern will meet with their mentor to agree objectives in line with their personal development plan. This process provides interns with the opportunity to set relevant objectives for the six month placement. These are reviewed and updated regularly during one to one meetings with their mentor. An appraisal and exit interview at the end of the programme will offer career guidance and support. On completion interns will receive a certificate and references as required.
What you will need
A commitment to three days per week for six months is essential.
Qualifications and experience
- A levels or equivalent
- Current driving licence and own transport
- Experience of working with children and young people
- Experience of outdoor learning
Knowledge and skills
- Knowledge and understanding of natural history and nature conservation
- Ability to inspire, excite and enthuse people of all ages about nature
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- Ability to work on own initiative and cooperatively as part of a team
- Administration and IT skills, including competent use of Microsoft Office
- Enthusiastic and self-motivated
- Eager to learn and to try new things
- Conscientious with a careful attention to detail
- Reliable and responsible
- Flexible approach to weekend and evening working, where appropriate
- Committed to the vision and values of Suffolk Wildlife Trust
A Suffolk Wildlife Trust uniform appropriate to the role will be provided. Travel expenses will be reimbursed for travel over and above your normal home to placement location commute.
Applications for work experience in 2023 will open beginning of October 2022, closing date will be end of February 2023.
In 2023, Suffolk Wildlife Trust will be offering a maximum of eight work experience placements over two (separate) weeks to young people with an interest in working for an environmental charity. The work experience weeks will take place during the Easter and summer holidays and will, therefore, be in addition to any work experience organised by the students’ educational establishment; please note that we will be unable to offer additional work experience placements outside the two weeks stated.
Work experience locations will be confirmed by October 2022
Students must be available for all five days of the week offered and to provide their own transport to and from the nature reserve. Due to the nature of the work experience offered, they may on occasion be required to travel to other locations in a Suffolk Wildlife Trust vehicle with a member of Trust staff.