Harry and the RSPB Scotland

3 April 2014

My time with RSPB Scotland began in December 2013, when I started a three month Communications Support Internship with the organisation.


My time with RSPB Scotland began in December 2013, when I started a three month Communications Support Internship with the organisation. Having graduated earlier that year with a BA degree in Geography, I was still unsure as to what career path I wanted to go down. The environment has always been a key interest of mine however, and I saw the chance to spend three months working along side a prestigious environmental charity such as the RSPB as a great opportunity to gain both valuable experience of working within this sector, and to contribute something positive and useful in the form of a Project.

My principle task during the Internship has been to research and develop RSPB Scotland’s volunteer offer to 16–24 year olds. Being one myself, I immediately understood the crucial importance of developing such volunteering opportunities – both for the RSPB, and for the 16-24 year olds themselves. This period in life, from experience, can be a transitional one, in which young people work their way through education, often pursuing this further into university, and subsequently find themselves either not knowing what career path they would like to go down, or without having developed the relevant skills set to pursue their dream job. Gaining voluntary experience is often an obvious solution to this dilemma, but in order for such experience to be popular, it must first appeal to people within the 16-24 age bracket.

Having designed and sent out a survey as a main part of my project I am hoping to gain a great insight into the wants and needs of thousands of 16–24 year old Scots. The survey seeks principally to find out the main benefits which this age bracket may look for in a Volunteering Opportunity, as well as attempting to gather information on their use of social media and the timescale over which they may want to volunteer. As such, attempting to gain as much information as possible through the survey, whilst also deciding upon what questions to include and how to word them, whilst constantly remaining focused on the broader aims of the survey, has proved a challenge at times.

Luckily, guidance has always been at hand from Elana, my Line Manager and the RSPB's Education Officer for Scotland, Jackie Brown (Volunteering Development Officer) and Nicki Wilde (Community Fundraising Manager). By carrying out a variety of tasks for all three of them throughout my internship, it has allowed me to gain not only an insight into various different areas of RSPB Scotland's work, but also to gain different perspectives upon my own work. I also hope that the experience has been mutually beneficial; Elana, Jackie and Nicki have helped me, but I like to think that I have also been able to provide them with useful information relating to their own work.

Overall, my experience with RSPB Scotland has been a very positive one. I feel like my project has and will continue to have real utility for the organisation, and gaining an insight into the workings of a large environmental charity has been highly rewarding.