The world needs a lot more Green Superheroes! It’s going to be up to you, young people! You see, I have a two-year-old daughter and I’m very aware of the fact that by the time she reaches my age…. which is getting on some, at our current trajectory, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, many new species will be facing extinction, wild places will be far fewer and far less wild than they are now. These are all things that made my childhood memorable, wild places are where I get my greatest pleasures. It frightens me to think that my young daughter may not get to enjoy the things I love so much. And the only people that can change this trajectory we are on will be young people, the next generation of leaders, business people and conservationists.
Let’s face it we have messed up badly. What we’re handing over to the next generation is a very broken planet. But there is hope. The inspiration for our careers in conservation course was born out of hope. Hope that the next generation, you guys, can and will do better. Young people are not just the future, they’re essentially our last hope! We want to share what we have learned over many years working in the environmental sector, we want to help young people create a vision for their future ....and while we are at it, have a load of fun.
Youth unemployment is at an all time high around the world and we feel that there needs to be a stronger focus on entrepreneurship and self sufficiency. A large focus of our weekend and 6 day course is on exploring the opportunities for entrepreneurship and especially social entrepreneurship. Planting the right seeds now to ensure broader opportunities.
But I also feel the need to help, to find a way to support our next generation of change-makers to be part of their journey. Each month, we get scores of CV’s from highly qualified young graduate environmentalists looking for work, totally unaware of what the work involves, very little experience beyond a degree and stiff competition in the job market. These are people that are passionate about nature, have huge potential to make our world a better place, but so often, disheartened and giving up. I meet plenty of young people who wished they could be in conservation, help wildlife, get involved in protecting nature, but feel they can’t do it as a career because someone told them they need a “proper job”. I meet scores of young people who are highly qualified in the natural sciences but doing totally unrelated work, who gave up. This represents lost opportunity that we want to help prevent. It doesn't’t have to be this way. There are opportunities out there. Employed and self employed.
If these young people we get CV’s from knew what I knew, they would understand the journey a whole lot better, they would see light at the end of the tunnel, they would see different paths, different opportunities and a whole lot more potential. This is what our careers in conservation program is all about, making sure young people are equipped with the right information, shining a light at the end of the tunnel, breaking down the myths and fears, giving young people the knowledge needed to make it. Knowledge that comes from years of experience in the environmental sector, knowledge I’ve learned the hard way. Knowledge you will not find in a biology textbook. With this knowledge, we hope, will come the freedom to dream and dream big. Knowledge that can inspire a new generation to do amazing things, a new generation that won’t make the same mistakes, a generation that can change the world and leave a better world for their kids.
This is what our careers in conservation program is all about, making sure young people are equipped with the right information, shining a light at the end of the tunnel, breaking down the myths and fears, giving young people the knowledge needed to make it. Knowledge that comes from years of experience and running an environmental business, knowledge I’ve learned the hard way. Knowledge you will not find in a biology textbook. With this knowledge, we hope, will come the freedom to dream and dream big. Knowledge that can inspire a new generation to do amazing things, a new generation that won’t make the same mistakes, a generation that can change the world and leave a better world for their kids.
Like it or not YOU are the future. Not us.
The program covers a lot more than just various career choices, it’s about understanding yourself, your own vision and applying that. It’s about understanding the complexities of the world we live in and how to carve your niche.
We spend a lot of time looking at what I call the “brutal realities” – there are some things that are inevitable which young people need to understand. When you reach thirty years old, you will be a very different person to who you are now. How do you plan for this? Your life and career will not be the straight line and the simple path you probably imagine, it’s a maze of different doors to walk through, a labyrinth of opportunities that will randomly come your way. How do you pick the right doors? Things are also going to take a lot longer than you imagine, you need to be thinking on a very different scale. Malcolm Gladwell, the quirky author, thinker, disrupter often refers to the 10 000-hour rule; to become good at something, to master a craft, to be exceptional at what you do, you simply must put in 10 000 hours. That’s a lot of time. But the good news is you can start now, you don't have to wait till you enter the job market (and shouldn't wait!)
We break down the myths. Yes, there are spaces in the environmental sector that pay good salaries, where you can earn a decent living. The day-to-day work of a marine biologist is probably not even close to what you imagine it to be. Your degree is not as valuable as you think, in fact, it may be close to worthless. Understand that every person submitting a CV for that “dream job” has the same degree ……this is a very brutal reality and simply can’t be ignored. I’m not saying a good education is not invaluable. I am saying, a good education will only get you part of the way. How you see the world, how you interact with the world, your life skills, what you do NOW and the new skills you start developing NOW, these are the things that will set you apart from the rest of the pack.
“Governments are not equipped to solve all of the world’s problems – nor should they be – and are looking for innovative solutions from the private sector. Social entrepreneurs will play a vital role” ~ Siri Terjesen. Global Entrepreneurship monitor
Our careers in conservation program looks intensely into the case for entrepreneurship and especially social entrepreneurship, business that benefits our planet. Finding a mentor, networking, getting involved in citizen science, starting you own local project. Things you can do now to start positioning yourself and building your future.
We look at a range of careers and environmental industries and what is involved. From ecotourism to the creative arts to environmental law to hard science. We look at an even broader picture of opportunities and paths you can follow. If you ask me, to make the world a better place, we don’t need more scientists, we need more environmentally-minded, inspiring teachers who can get young people enthused about nature, we need more civil engineers who value the environment and can come up with new and innovative ways to build our cities, we need more inspired people. These people are you.
When you leave the course, we want you to have a better understanding of yourself and where you are going. We want you to have a plan, a plan for now and a big dream for the future. We want you to be able to start carving your niche the very next day. We want you to feel inspired and have hope in the future. If we get this right, then we also have hope. Come join us!