Belfast Hills Partnership were delighted to offer a one-year paid employment placement as part of the New to Nature programme between May 2023 and April 2024.

Polly’s Experience

Polly looks back on her past year on the New to Nature Programme, where she gained experience as an Engagement Assistant with the Wild Youth Team. 

This time last year I was just starting my time at the Belfast Hills Partnership as a New to Nature Trainee.  Within the first week I was already out in the hills with Wild Youth, supporting young people to access local green spaces and engage with the natural environment. From nature walks to campfire, it’s fair to say that I was smitten with my new role and excited to know I had a full year ahead of me!

New to Nature aims to provide life-changing experiences for people who might not normally have access to a career in the environmental sector.  By providing paid traineeships across the UK and Northern Ireland, New to Nature aims to diversify the environmental sector and encourage more people to pursue green jobs.

As the Engagement Assistant, I have had the chance to support many different programmes within the Belfast Hills Partnership. Using my background in the arts whenever possible, I really enjoyed developing activities for our youth engagement programme, Wild Youth.

The flexibility of my placement and New to Nature’s focus on career development, enabled me to take part in training opportunities within the Belfast Hills Partnership and a longer-term qualification with the RHS.

I am incredibly grateful for the support and encouragement I have received from the Belfast Hills Partnership.  After such a rewarding year, I am pleased to say that I will be continuing on at BHP.  Over the next 9 months I will be delivering a new primary school outreach programme called ‘Growing Up Healthy’ and will officially not be so ‘New to Nature’ anymore.

New to Nature

New to Nature is an exciting programme of paid work placements in nature-focused roles. This is one of 70 roles that will be created across the UK to encourage young and diverse talent into the Natural Environment sector.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, the programme will run until September 2024 and provide paid work placements for at least 95 people, targeting young people from diverse backgrounds to undertake a range of environmental roles.

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