Volunteering isn’t just about giving back, it’s becoming a more important tool for career progression than ever. You can learn brilliant new skills as well as become a familiar face within an organisation, which can even lead to exciting new employment opportunities!


In fact, this blog has been written by one of our newest South East volunteers, Libby Morris! If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering opportunities visit our website



Using volunteering to gain a step up - Chris Corrigan



Chris Corrigan is a prime example of this –now the RSPB Director for England, he started off his RSPB career as a volunteer. Through hard work and determination, he has worked his way up to the senior position that he is in today.

Chris Corrigan knew that he wanted to be a warden from a young age, but also knew that competition was strong and that he would have to put in the legwork to get noticed. His first volunteering position after finishing his A-levels, was guarding a pair of golden eagles in the Lake District, in a similar role to the volunteer shown in this picture! Over the following few years, both during and after university, he also worked as a residential volunteer at a number of RSPB reserves including Arne, Fetlar and several stints at Leighton Moss. He gained practical skills in involved path building, reed cutting and bird surveys as well as general labouring. 

Volunteering gave him plenty of experience and knowledge, and eventually lead to a paid position working for the Nature Conservancy Council (NCC) as a summer warden for the Hermaness in Shetland. A vacancy arising due to maternity leave then lead to a temporary NCC office job in Orkney which eventually became permanent. Having joined the RSPB team in South East England as a warden, Chris has worked in various roles within our organisation. He just goes to show hard work and passion really can get you an awfully long way!

Chris is very positive about his experience as a volunteer, and would highly recommend trying it “I went to places I’d never been before and learnt so much about wildlife.” It has helped to build his confidence and succeed in his career, and perhaps most importantly, has given him a better understanding of what it is like to volunteer, which means that he truly appreciates how hard volunteers work within the RSPB and our partner organisations today. 


Using your experience to further conservation - Richard Neville-Carle


For Richard Neville-Carle, volunteering at the RSPB has allowed him to gain a new insight into his profession, despite his huge wealth of experience.


Richard spent over thirty years in central government as a town planner – finally ending up as an assistant chief planner of greater London. He then set up his own consultancy, working on the 2012 London Olympics and the Greater London Authorities’ climate change policies.


So, where do you go after a career like that?! In Richard’s case, he didn’t want to stop contributing to society and so volunteered with us – as a planner supporting our conservation team. He’s been with us since 2013, and has brought with him four decades of his experience. He’s provided invaluable insight into how the planning system works, as well as advice on how to use the system most effectively to meet our conservation objectives. He helps evaluate what is good and bad for nature in local plans and applications, and helps us to voice our opinions on them.


Through volunteering with us, Richard has been able to work in conservation for the first time in his career. He’s been a keen nature watcher all of his life – which makes the role all the more pertinent. He recommends that ‘for someone at an earlier stage in their planning career, a spell volunteering with the RSPB would widen a planner’s perspective of the voluntary sector and how conservation objectives interact with the planning system.’


It’s worth a thought - How could volunteering with us widen your knowledge within your chosen career path? If you want to talk to us about volunteering and your career visit our website!