Working with us

Although we have a low staff turnover, we are always interested in talking to outstanding individuals who want to join us in North Cornwall.

If you would like to talk to us about opportunities in the National Trust in North Cornwall, please email us in the first instance here

Fancy working for the National Trust somewhere else in England or Wales? – first place to look is

Here is a selection of the different paths some of our volunteer rangers have taken over the last year or two to get to where they are now…. and as some of these show, often having worked as a volunteer ranger, the next step is into a full time paid position …

Josh’s story – moving from a Full Time Volunteer to an Assistant Ranger

I’ve been with the same team here in North Cornwall for a year and half now. Back in August 2017 I started out as a Full Time Volunteer (FTV) after completing my Ecology and Wildlife Conservation degree. Obviously, like many of you, the idea of working for nothing after university was a rather dire concept… okay no, soul destroying. But I have to be honest and say that it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Yes I wasn’t being paid for my work, but I was doing a job that I’d set out to do and I was proactively using my knowledge and skills. Not only that, but I was learning a plethora of new things. A degree is great, but practical experience is just as much of a necessity for a career in this field.

During my time as a FTV I attended training courses for practical tickets such as brushcutter and 4×4, along with courses in areas that interested me including woodland birds ID and plant ID. These, along with a friendly and knowledgeable team allowed me to develop further.

Feeling like I was growing week by week, I started applying for Assistant Ranger jobs across Cornwall. I know I could have looked further afield; but really the idea of leaving such a wonderful part of the country wasn’t on my immediate agenda. I was invited to a few interviews, but to no avail. It is disheartening when you really try over and over and nothing comes of it. But my persistence paid off and after nearly a year, dot on a week short, I finally gained a paid place within the National Trust.

What a result ey?! Over the moon doesn’t cover it and it feels even more worthwhile after the effort I feel I placed into it. There were times where I’d realistically considered giving up, but I knew that wasn’t an option. Not if I wanted to succeed. But it isn’t only the want or need of yourself that keeps you going, it’s everyone you get to work with too. The ranger team saw my FTV position as a learning and development role so were always trying to pass on whatever they could. Even after progressing in my role to Assistant Ranger I am further broadening my horizons with courses and qualifications.

The volunteers who come out with us on a weekly basis also definitely deserve a mention. Everyone is so supportive. It’s great having a group of people who actually want to be somewhere and help you with your work.

For someone who wants a future in this line of work and the ability to continuously grow, then I couldn’t recommend an organisation more than the National Trust. Do what you love and love the time you spend doing it.

Josh hanging off (something) to take a photoRyan and josh quizzically looking at something

Julia’s story – from full time volunteer ranger to paid ranger

I volunteered with the North Cornwall Tintagel to Holywell team from June 2017 to March 2018. Before deciding on this spell of volunteering I hadn’t really known what I wanted to do with my life – I had a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, but no desire to pursue a career in any of those three fields; I had volunteered in zoos and on nature reserves and on farms; I had travelled; and I had taken temping jobs in everything from offices to Royal Mail sorting centres. It had all been wonderful, varied experience, but nothing had ever really stuck. I knew I wanted to be in the conservation sector, but I wasn’t entirely sure in what capacity, or how I was going to achieve it.

Julia strimmingThe NT North Cornwall volunteering appealed to me as it would fill a significant gap in my experience – that of practical, hands-on outdoors work. I had done a lot of animal care but never much habitat management, or construction, or manual labour, and to be honest it was a little embarrassing for me to have to confess at the beginning that I didn’t know the names of most of the tools in the workshop. Plus, I could barely lift the strimmer that had been assigned to me for a summer of path cutting.

But the team and all the regular volunteers were friendly and welcoming, and the places we were working in were so beautiful – yes, in every kind of weather – and the work itself was varied, and interesting, and satisfying. I quickly felt completely at home, and over the course of nine months, I helped with vegetation management – of invasives such as Himalayan balsam, undesirables such as ragwort, and ordinary mowing and cutting back of scrub, bracken and other growth – repairing and installing fencing, creating signage and posters, organising and running public events, collecting and counting money, building bird boxes, conducting orchid surveys, collecting and sorting beach litter, walking the butterfly transect, hedgelaying, footpath levelling and drainage management, and repairing and building Cornish hedges and other stonework, and of course so much more.

Julia gateJulia easter

Quite apart from all this invaluable practical experience, I was put through qualifications in brushcutting, first aid, and off-road driving, as well as attending several more informal training courses on subjects such as lichens, fungi, arable plant surveying, marine mammal identification, rockpool surveying, moth trapping, bat surveying and more. I was also entrusted with some of the team’s social media output, posting pictures and events to Facebook and contributing to the blog, which I enjoyed very much.

I had intended to stay for a year, but as I expected it would take a little while to figure out the next step, I started applying for jobs after nine months in North Cornwall and – unbelievably – the very first one I applied for, I got!

I am now the Ranger at Magdalen Environmental Trust, a working organic farm and reJulia chickensidential environmental education centre on the Dorset/Somerset border. I am responsible for looking after the livestock, nature conservation, and outdoors maintenance – and I know for a fact that I would never have got this job without my time at the National Trust. I had the most fantastic time in North Cornwall, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to learn so much, because now I have the job of my dreams.

Phil’s story
April 2014

Darran’s story
April 2014

George’s story
September 2013

Pete’s story
August 2013

Jenny’s story
July 2013

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