Meet Glen, former student volunteer

Meet Glen, former student volunteer, now full-time environmental assistant for the Trust.

Glen, student volunteer Glen, student volunteer

"If you work hard, volunteering here can lead to great things both personally and professionally."


I began volunteering with the Trust in September 2014 through Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), as part of a placement year. At the time I was a second year BSc Geography student looking to gain some environmental work experience due to the dog eat dog world of work out there.

My role was technical volunteer environmental assistant (try saying it 30 times over) and I worked closely with environmental scientists and ecologists in conducting surveys, environmental monitoring and auditing as well as dealing with pollution incidents and analysing large sets of data (eg to determine fly-tipping hotspots). One particular highlight was conducting a baseline environmental survey which helped secure Green Flag Status on the Macclesfield Canal, the first canal in the country!

Green Flag award team

My placement year was technically for nine months (until May 2015). However, I stayed on volunteering with the Trust throughout the summer of 2015 and then I returned to volunteer again in the summer of 2016 after I had graduated.

First class honours

The practical skills and knowledge I gained from volunteering with the Trust were invaluable. In addition, doing my placement year gave me the discipline to work hard at my final year at Uni, for which I graduated with first class honours and was awarded the prize of best dissertation by the Manchester Geographical Society. My project was in line with the interests of the Trust’s environment team, who have many projects titles they’re keen to see students research.

I am now an associate member of IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment) and working towards practitioner status thanks to my experience. My end goal is to become a chartered environmentalist (CEnv). It’s so important to show continuing professional development through membership of chartered bodies.

Full-time role

After volunteering with the Trust in the summer of 2016, I was taken on as graduate environmental assistant as a member of agency staff. This ran part time while I studied for an MSc in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development at MMU. Fast forward to January 2018, I have finished my MSc with a great degree class and I am still working with the Trust but as a full-time environmental assistant.

Going back to what I said earlier, who would have thought going into that interview as a second year student would lead me here. I am forever grateful to the Trust and the environment team for giving me the best start to my career. I hope that my story will encourage students to volunteer with the Trust, regardless of their background or career interests.

When I started I had little to no experience, so don’t let that put you off. If you work hard, volunteering here can lead to great things both personally and professionally. I would encourage any level of student BSc, MSc or PhD etc to volunteer with the Trust, it has, above all else been a truly enjoyable experience.

Last date edited: 7 February 2018