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Get close to nature with a parks job

For those who like working surrounded by the wonders of nature, job opportunities can be hard to come by. There is substantial competition for vacancies, but the UK's National Parks offer the chance to work in the outdoors on a variety of conservation schemes. Job requirements vary, but there are opportunities including forestry work, academic research and tourism posts.

Park life

With an increasing number of people keen to find employment that brings them closer to nature, job openings in the UK's National Parks are eagerly contested and require a wide variety of skills and qualifications.

Typical careers for graduates can include heritage officers, with a grounding in field archaeology, heritage management, and parks legislation.

Tourism is another important consideration for the national parks, and a possible entry point for park employment is as a member of the administrative staff for tourist offices and visitor centres. These jobs can occasionally be seasonal or part-time.

There are 14 National Parks in the UK, offering a variety of work opportunities. The most promising areas for employment are those with the most substantial visitor numbers and extensive area.

  • The Lake District National Park is one of the UK's most popular tourist destinations, with job opportunities related to management of the park, and visitor facilities.
  • The Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales covers some of the UK's most dramatic scenery and areas of historic interest.
  • The Cairngorms National Park covers some spectacular regions in the Scottish Highlands, with forestry, mountain safety and visitor access issues all important considerations.

The parks have different priorities, calling on different skills depending on the nature of the job. Do your research before applying, and consider additional training courses to make you an attractive candidate.

Live the dream

Combining a love of nature with a paying job is the dream for many. Succeeding requires persistence. The parks usually advertise openings on their website, but it is advisable to check the local and national press and employment websites for information on new vacancies. Often the best way into a permanent job is through volunteering or part-time work, forging contacts and developing skills.

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