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UNIVERSITY of Northampton Graduate, Thomas Gardner, has spent the last year getting his hands dirty working with the Wildlife Trust helping to protect the countY’s natural spaces through conservation work.

The Wildlife Trust is a voluntary charitable organisation, caring for wildlife and the countryside. Knowing they needed a little extra help to tame Mother Nature, the Northampton office teamed up with the University of Northampton’s Changemaker Hub team, to hunt for a student volunteer to help them with their local conservation work through the Time2Grow Graduate Internship programme.

The Time2Grow Graduate Internship programme matches local business with skilled graduates from the University of Northampton, to work on a project to help an organisation tackle their most challenging problems. Through the programme, the University employs the graduates and funds 60 per cent of the cost of their employment with the organisation.

Speaking about his experience, Thomas said: “While studying, I wanted to put into practice the things I was learning, so I joined the Wildlife Trust and Nenescape as a volunteer. I’ve learnt a lot of academic and research skills as part of my studies, but I wanted to get more hands-on, practical conservation experience.”

Matt Johnson, from the Wildlife Trust, said: “The Time2Grow Graduate Internship programme was a real success, providing the trust with some much-needed support from a graduate for an extended, 10-week placement. This has meant that we have been able to get Thomas really involved in what we do, and he’s been able to create and carry out whole projects – which is a really valuable experience for him.”

Janice Watkins, who runs the Time2Grow Graduate Internship programme at the University of Northampton, said: “The Time2Grow Graduate Internship programme is an ideal way for graduates to gain valuable paid work experience in their chosen field and in some cases, it can lead on to a permanent role. Supported throughout the internship by the University, I would encourage all small or medium sized companies to look at companies as a way of using local talent.”

Find out more about the University of Northampton at www.northampton.ac.uk

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