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Young Londoners encouraged to apply to get paid to protect the planet

6 February 2023

Young people from diverse backgrounds are being encouraged to apply for a new green jobs scheme to help boost diversity in the environmental sector. Sixty paid roles are on offer nationally, with six of these based in and around the capital (see the list below for details of London roles).

The New To Nature scheme aims to increase diversity in the nature sector, where those from ethnic minorities, disabled people and people from low-income backgrounds have traditionally been poorly represented, by targeting younger people who are passionate about nature to take their first step into the environment sector.

The scheme is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the celebrations to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, and is being delivered by community charity, Groundwork in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, Mission Diverse, Disability Rights UK and the Youth Environmental Service.

The six exciting roles with different nature-focused charities in and around London comprise of: Citizen Science projects at Bat Conservation Trust; working on community engagement and learning at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and The Royal Parks; a traineeship at Chelsea Physic Garden; a political engagement internship at England’s biggest nature coalition; and a role encouraging more young people to get into green jobs with the Youth Environmental Service.

The 12-month jobs will be paid at the Real Living Wage (uplifted for London) and are targeted at young people at the beginning of their working lives who can gain valuable experience and knowledge working in the environmental sector. The roles will provide a good wage and boost job prospects, helping people to get on the career ladder and gain experience with dedicated training and support from an employment mentor through building a career that protects the planet.

Applications are open from now until 17 February, with the roles starting in April and the New to Nature programme will run until May 2024.

Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link (England’s biggest nature coalition), said:
“Nature is for everyone, and it’s vital that the diversity of people who love nature is represented in the organisations working to protect it. We’re thrilled to be part of the New to Nature scheme and to be offering an exciting role, learning the political and engagement skills needed to influence the Government to restore our environment. This scheme gives an amazing opportunity to get your green career off to a flying start. We encourage younger people of all backgrounds who want to make a difference to find out more about the brilliant range of nature roles on offer.”

Kit Stoner, CEO of the Bat Conservation Trust, said:
“Our vision at BCT is one where bats and people thrive together, but there are some groups in society who do not have the same opportunities and equal access to nature. This scheme is an important route to addressing a problem which is widely recognised across the conservation sector and we are really excited to be a part of it.

“We are looking forward to welcoming on board someone who has a lot to give but who might otherwise struggle to get a first step into a conservation career - and we hope that they will in turn be at the forefront of shaping how less represented people engage with us, with wildlife science and with our crucial work to conserve bats and their habitats.”

Billy Knowles, Programme Director in charge of the Youth Environmental Service, said:
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to offer a new role through New to Nature. There have historically been too few opportunities available to too few people, and it’s great that the sector is finally beginning to do something about it, creating accessible roles where enthusiasm beats experience, so that anyone can be part of the solutions we need to address our climate and nature emergencies.”

Katy Parry, Head of Learning and Public Engagement at Chelsea Physic Garden said:
“We cannot wait to welcome a New to Nature trainee to both our learning and horticulture teams. We are extremely passionate about providing pathways into work within the horticulture sector and believe this scheme is a great opportunity.”

London-based New to Nature roles

The Royal Parks : Learning Programme Trainee 

Supporting The Royal Parks’ Learning Team in learning and engagement opportunities, from outdoor activities for school groups, to hands-on family activities in the school holidays, and walking tours and workshops for adults.

Youth Environmental Service (incubated within the Eden Project): 
New to Nature: Programme Delivery Support 

Supporting the delivery of the New to Nature programme as a pilot for a long-term Youth Environmental Service

Bat Conservation Trust : Volunteer Engagement Officer 

This role involves engaging young and under-represented audiences in a long-running citizen science project.

Wildlife and Countryside Link : Nature 2030 policy and engagement officer 

Working in England’s biggest environment coalition to achieve a nature-rich future by 2030.

Chelsea Physic Garden: Horticultural and Learning Trainee 

A traineeship in practical horticulture and environmental education at London’s oldest botanic garden, supporting skills and development.

Zoological Society of London (ZSL) at Whipsnade Zoo: 
Community and Learning Trainee 

The trainee will support the team with administration, coordination and delivery of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s community and learning activities.

Currently only around 7% of environment professionals are from ethnic minority backgrounds and while 97% of disabled people are concerned about the environment, many feel excluded from being able to reduce their environmental impact.

There are a number of barriers to people from diverse backgrounds taking up an environmental career, not least is the fact that many people start their nature career by volunteering in unpaid roles. New to Nature aims to inspire people who may not have considered or been able to access a green job to get involved in the sector and get paid to help the planet.  

Find out more about the programme, see the full list of opportunities, and apply online at


About New to Nature

New to Nature will offer new, full-time, temporary work placements in nature and landscape organisations across the UK, aiming to increase diversity and enrich the environmental sector.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the celebrations to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, the programme will run until May 2024 and will provide paid work placements for at least 70 people, targeting young people from diverse backgrounds to undertake a range of environmental roles.

New to Nature will be delivered through a partnership of Groundwork, The Prince’s Trust, Disability Rights UK, and Mission Diverse.

We will be working closely with the Youth Environmental Service to ensure the programme acts as a stepping stone for a longer-term journey of change in the sector:

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future:

As part of the National Lottery’s £22million investment to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, The National Lottery Heritage Fund is investing £7m to create a lasting legacy for communities and nature across the UK. The funding will empower disadvantaged communities to take action for nature on their doorsteps and enable 70 young people to undertake paid placements in the nature heritage sector.

About Groundwork

Groundwork is a federation of charities mobilising practical community action on poverty and the environment across the UK. Groundwork is passionate about creating a future where every neighbourhood is vibrant and green, every community is strong and able to shape its own destiny, and no-one is held back by their background or circumstances.

The charity helps people to gain confidence and skills, get into training and work, protect and improve green spaces, lead more active lives and overcome significant challenges such as poverty, isolation, low skills and poor health:

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