Learning in the South Downs

Work Experience

Work experience placements are an important part of career progression. The South Downs National Park Authority is keen to provide opportunities for students to find out more about our work and also contribute their ideas to our projects.

National Parks are great environments to work in…

  • Beautiful setting in protected landscapes
  • Staff who want to make a difference and have a passion for their work and the National Park
  • Proximity to the great outdoors, enjoy it through both work and play
  • Good benefits such as flexible working options to maintain a work-life balance, annual leave and pension scheme

The work is varied and so are the skills and expertise of both environmental and office-based staff. Posts relating to the two purposes include roles such as rangers, ecologists, archaeologists, education and volunteering, planning and sustainable development, interpretation, access and transport, tourism and recreation, forestry and estate management. There are also staff covering corporate services such as finance, facilities management, admin, press and publicity, HR and IT.

Roles and Activities

Work Experience placements can take place in any of these roles or include days in different areas to experience a wider range of jobs. Here’s a selection of sample activities that you could be involved in…

  • Front of House – meeting and greeting, answering telephone queries, post, receiving weekly stationery order
  • Events and Engagement – design a survey and draft a forum posting, attend an event
  • Facilities – tour of buildings, weekly fire alarm testing, processing weekly stationary order
  • Media – put together a press release, drafting items for facebook and twitter
  • Research – investigating & presenting findings, collating evidence
  • Publications – design a new publication, research and upload photos for the photo library
  • Campaigns and identity – design a social media campaign, create leaflets using shared identity
  • Website – analyse, design and modify website
  • Interpretation – design an interpretation board/poster for an event
  • Planning – site visits, inspection and reporting, drafting maps and plans
  • Rangers – practical conservation, surveying and site visits, working with volunteers, preparing for & attending public events, tool maintenance, building barn owl boxes
  • Education – designing activities and games, supporting class visits

How to apply?

We currently offer work experience placements to students in Year 10-13. If you’d like to apply for a work experience placement please complete the application form (download links at the bottom of page) and return it to learning@southdowns.gov.uk. If suitable you’ll be invited to interview where we’ll discuss your interests in working at the South Downs and explore options for a work experience programme tailored to your interests.

If you are in higher or further education and are looking for research placements or would like to undertake a research project please visit the research hub and contact research@southdowns.gov.uk


“I was nervous about the interview when I arrived but looking back it was a really useful part of the experience. I learnt a lot about what to expect and the types of information to research and be ready to talk about”

“I really enjoyed being at the education event in Ardingly which involved helping children with activities like making the giant jigsaw puzzle which detailed the major habitats in the South Downs”

“I enjoyed cutting bracken with Dan and the volunteers, it was a tough day of work but very rewarding. It also gave me the chance to speak to everyone about what they enjoyed doing and why they were out there every week working hard to conserve the environment”