Through this campaign, we aim to give young people the confidence to gain experience and develop new skills in outdoor activities, which can subsequently create new pathways into further volunteering and employment.

Our motivation is the potentially detrimental effect that young people can experience from not being in work, employment or training – from negative impacts on physical and mental health, to an increased possibility of unemployment and lower wages in later life.

This brings to light the importance of our Building Outdoor Skills campaign; by offering young people the opportunity to gain experience in environmental and outdoor activities, we aim to instil the confidence and skills in these individuals to pursue a career or further volunteering in this line of work.

Stand up paddleboarding instruction

The work our countryside and activities teams do requires a vast range of different skills – for example, repairing a stone wall, laying a hedge, conserving an ancient monument, improving habitats, and teaching outdoor sports. This variety provides a wealth of opportunity for training and learning in conservation work, rural skills, heritage preservation work, and watersports instruction.

Beyond this, the volunteering experience encompasses a range of personal benefits and qualities, such as friendship, company, being active, the acquisition of new skills, and being outdoors.

One volunteer described the benefits of their experience as ‘meeting people, gaining new practical skills and local knowledge, keeping fit – mentally and physically, and improving the local environment.’

Students ‘were truly engaged and totally felt part of the project they were working on…learning new skills and experiencing in many cases for the first time the feeling of pride in their environment. A great experience which led to four out of the five who attended gaining full time employment shortly afterwards.’ 
Nicky Henderson (Prospects Services) 

Woodworking

Andy Parsons, Chief Executive, believes that, ‘If South West Lakes Trust can make a positive difference to just one person’s life, that would be something worthwhile. However, I truly believe that our charity can help many more people, young and old, to gain new skills, develop confidence and have the motivation to find work or volunteering opportunities that they love and enjoy.’

We are eager to work with volunteers of all ages and abilities. A recent success story is the building and installation of our new entrance signs – a fantastic sustainable story that evolved from the idea of putting wood grown at Burrator back around the sites. We have a brilliant team of volunteers at Burrator, whose collective pool of skills and experience from previous jobs, and eagerness to learn new skills, enabled them to work together to implement a shared vision. Read more about the project here.

By getting a flavour of different types of outdoor work, a young person might catch a glimpse of a potential future filled with fresh, exciting opportunities, and gather the ambition and self-belief to pursue a new pathway to employment.

Find out how you can get involved with our work and opportunities here.