Could you be our next Media and Marketing Volunteer?

We have a position available to join CAT’s vibrant media and marketing department. It is a chance to develop a broad range of skills including writing, film making, photography, social media, interviewing, research and marketing skills. Robyn is just coming to the end of her placement, so what has her experience been like?  Scroll down for more details and to apply. 

I’ve been working in the media and marketing department for 5 months and the time has unfortunately come to pass the baton and invite someone new to the team.I started working here around the first of November and its been non-stop go!

View from the hill in January

I’m from a planning background interested in urban communities and sustainable retrofits with little knowledge of the marketing world, its acronyms and online databases. But after a couple of weeks, there’s no question about it, you become quite addicted into finding out the ‘click-throughs’ and the analytics of the work you’ve posted. At CAT theres never a dull moment, ”a TV crew tomorrow”, ”a conference today”, ”a crazy big storm on the way”, the opportunities are endless and you can work in any medium you like, be it videos, blogs, interviews or photography. Once a week volunteers can help out in another department or work on a personal project (although this isnt strictly monitored). During this time I either jumped in the gardens learning organic gardening from ‘gardening guru’ Roger, or ventured into the woods sawing, carving and weaving with woodland manager Rob.

Me out and about
Me out and about

With Spring pushing through (fingers crossed last year wont repeat) and the smell of summer on its way, CAT is bursting into life, the daffodils are blooming and the visitors centre will soon be reopening. The summer position to work in this department will no doubt be demanding but the pay offs with the in depth knowledge and skills you’ll learn are truly unimaginable.

The biggest benefit to volunteering at CAT is the opportunity get experience working somewhere with 40 years experience at the cutting edge of the environmental movement. Volunteers can also get a free lunch in the CAT restaurant, can claim for travel expenses, can attend two CAT courses (subject to availability) and get a year’s CAT membership for free.

Start Date: April 2014 (Exact start date is flexible)

Deadline for applications: 28th March 2014

To download the Media and Marketing Volunteer job description please click here

To download the application form click here

Send completed applications to: vacancy@cat.org.uk 

 

Working in the Woods

CAT is currently recruiting for some lovely long-term volunteers to join us here in mid-Wales. Are you looking to gain experience in woodland management, horticulture or marketing? CAT has five or six-month placements in these areas and we are recruiting in a rolling basis. Over the next three days we’re going to take a closer look at the different roles. If you are interested in applying then check out our volunteering website.

First up:

Water and Natural Resources Volunteers

Using a draw knife to make a traditional Welsh gate.

We’re looking for two people to work in CAT’s Water and Natural Resources department. This is a brilliant opportunity to learn about traditional coppice skills, correct tool use and care, sustainable woodland management, biodiversity survey work, land and estate management, wetlands and eco-sanitation. CAT’s woodland website has loads of further information about each of these areas.

The people we’re looking for may not necessarily have experience in this area, but they will:

  • have a genuine interest in woodland and natural resources
  • have practical skills
  • be happy to get a bit grubby
  • be flexible with an enthusiastic and positive disposition
  • be keen to learn
  • willing to complete physical work outside in all weathers

 

Iñigo, a previous volunteer had this to say about his experience: “I like being involved in the woodland and working outside, being in contact with nature through the work that we are doing and trying to preserve biodiversity. I think it’s a great experience to have and to take some skills and to develop a different view of what you can do with them, and to improve sustainability and to be a change maker in some way.”

Visit the volunteering website for more information about this placement.

Reflections from our Long Term Volunteers

Volunteers play a vital part at CAT, helping in a variety of departments and gaining useful skills. As CAT is currently recruiting for the next round of Long Term Volunteers (LTVs), we interviewed some of our current volunteers to find out what they have most enjoyed about their time at CAT.

More information about the current volunteering vacancies can be found here. We’re recruiting on a rolling basis.

From left to right: Burhan, Roisin, Inigo, Rachel, Drew, Riccardo and Fabienne

Fabienne – Water and Natural Resources

I’m learning lots of things every single day about woodland management and biodiversity and about other people’s skills. It’s a once in a lifetime experience!

Burhan – Natural Building Materials

It’s a great working environment, I think I couldn’t find better and the people are very sociable.

Roisín- Water and Natural Resources

You meet people from lots of different places, different backgrounds, with different skill sets who come together to work on something jointly. Some of those people might have lots of experience and lots of skills and others might have none, but they come together to learn new things and all work towards the same common goal.

Iñigo- Water and Natural Resources

I like being involved in the woodland and working outside, being in contact with nature through the work that we are doing and trying to preserve biodiversity. I think it’s a great experience to have and to take some skills and to develop a different view of what you can do with them, and to improve sustainability and to be a change maker in some way.

Drew – Gardens

I love the fact that you can come here with very little knowledge of a certain type of work, gardening, for instance, and you get so much knowledge out of it fulfilment, and you feel like you can go on and do something else now, take it further. And it’s a really friendly atmosphere, full of a lot of very supportive people.

Rachel – Natural Building Materials

I’ve gained some really interesting knowledge of building physics and learnt quite a lot about climate change and architecture. I’ve been part of a really interesting community of volunteers who are all really lovely and who all bring something different.

Riccardo – Site Maintenance

There are all these interesting people who pop out of the woodwork and come to do courses. They’re always really keen to talk to you and to share their knowledge and that’s great.

Richard (not pictured) – Media and Marketing

I chose to volunteer at CAT so that I could learn new skills whilst promoting a cause I felt strongly about in a collaborative, holistic environment. It’s been an unforgettable experience that I will take it with me for the rest of my life!

Steve (not pictured) – Gardens

For me, it’s about learning relevant skills that are going to be useful in the future, It’s a nice place to work and everyone’s friendly.

 

ZCBlog: Volunteering for a sustainable future!

Volunteers are extremely important to the Zero Carbon Britain project. As the research nears completion the long-term volunteers are beginning to look at how best to communicate ZCB to the people that will have to embrace a sustainable future: the public.

Two new long-term volunteers, Sarah and Megan, are working hard to support CAT and the ZCB team in both research and communications.

Sarah Everitt has been working with the ZCB team for a few weeks now. She is enthusiastic about making an important contribution to a project that has the potential to vastly benefit not only the UK environment, but the global climate too.

At the moment, now that the research is coming to a close, she is working to improve the report’s structure. Sarah is putting together a template that can improve accessibility of the new report to a wider audience. This is not such an easy task, with a scenario covering a variety of topics and  complex research data, but key to communicating ZCB to the general public.

Megan Jones joined the CAT team last week from the Isle of Anglesey, Wales, where for the last three months she has been a Residential Volunteer for the RSPB at South Stack Cliffs. She came back to Britain last autumn after finishing a BA in English at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, USA.

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved exploring woods and mountains (so mid-Wales is pretty perfect for me), and I’m hoping to make a career inspiring others to love nature and protect biodiversity. I’m very much looking forward to being a long-term volunteer at CAT, where I’ll be sharing CAT’s stories through social media, gaining new skills in marketing, and helping bring the new Zero Carbon Britain report to fruition.”

The Centre for Alternative Technology’s achievements over the last 40 years simply wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work, inspiration and dedication of the volunteers. With Nuria leaving at the end of February and a new volunteer starting in the coming month, ZCB’s volunteers have been invaluable to the evolution of the project.

Both Megan and Sarah are helping to co-ordinate a series of discussion papers titled ‘ZCB and…’ These will explore how the Zero Carbon Britain scenario effects wider topics beyond the team’s core research. Read more about the project here.

CAT long term volunteers give an insight into what it’s like volunteering

 

This March, a new group of volunteers will start at CAT, staying until September. We asked two current volunteers, Laurie and Thomas, about their experience of being here.

If you’re interested in applying, check out this page. Applications need to be in by the 11th of December.

Laurie has been volunteering in engineering for nearly three months. Having recently finished a BEng in environmental engineering which focused mainly on water and waste, Laurie wanted to extend his knowledge of renewable technologies, and sustainable living in general. Interested in the potential of transforming urban environments into eco cities, Laurie saw CAT as a good place to learn about the infrastructure needed and practicalities involved.

As a volunteer in the engineering department, Laurie’s days are varied, involving checking the water level in the reservoir, operating the hydro turbine, reading meters, keeping the wood pellet burner topped up, plumbing, and much more. One of the constants of Laurie’s workload is fixing the hydro turbine at the bottom station.

Volunteering at CAT is a “full-on social experience,” according to Laurie. There’s plenty to do, from football to drumming. The diversity of the CAT community has been important to Laurie, as lunchtimes see Laurie and other volunteers mix with biologists, gardeners, researchers and other staff. Living on-site has also been enjoyable for Laurie, who says that “coming from inner-city London, it’s very different!”

Currently, Laurie’s working with education volunteer Amy on a project aimed at calculating the carbon footprint of a meal bought at the CAT restaurant. In the next few months Laurie is also hoping to install a weir at the reservoir to monitor the flow rate from the spring.

Thomas has been volunteering in displays for two months. Taking a gap year after finishing school in Germany, Thomas was keen to get some experience in what he hopes to study at university, mechanical engineering for renewable energy. Thomas has also long wanted to spend some time in the UK, and volunteering over the winter at CAT proved the perfect opportunity to do so.

In the displays department, who take care of the displays on the visitor’s circuit, Thomas’ daily tasks include cleaning, sweeping, making signs, refurbishment and maintenance. So far, Thomas has learnt to do some interesting DIY, including replacing a U-turn. The tasks are a good mix of ones that require lots of guidance, and ones where Thomas has more independence.

The community has exceeded Thomas’ expectations of what a small group of people in an isolated rural area would be like. It is, he says, “international, open minded, very friendly, and really interesting.” Being at CAT has provided a great opportunity for Thomas to work on his English; in his time here he’s taken a course in Welsh as well.

Most of all, Thomas is enjoying the interdepartmental aspect of CAT. Rather than being a specialised institution, Thomas appreciates CAT’s holistic approach, which has given him a broader overview, learning in turn about biology, gardening and other departments, as well as renewable energy.