Because the National Trust is a charity, lots of people volunteer before getting their first job, which is a good thing because it gives us a chance to see if we like the people and places and style of work before we commit ourselves.

The first thing I did with the National Trust was to go on a National Trust working holiday, where we are likely to meet about ten english speaking volunteers and spend a week on some outdoor project. The holidays are about fifty to seventy english pounds, but all meals are paid for by this, and basic accommodation and this is such a good way to meet some of the staff that actually take care of our countryside. Different holidays have a different mix of people, because people book them at random, so some are more enjoyable than others because you can end up having a great time with lots of people that you have things in common with. However I would say that if you keep in mind that all of the holiday volunteers are at their best when their physical, security and social needs, aswell as their need to express themselves and have a sense of being useful, are met, then you will do very well. Basically, you just need to look after everyone as much as you can, and you'll have a great time.

If you enjoy working holidays you can lead groups on holidays yourself, which is free, but you should definitely go on a few holidays first… The National Trust also provides training for holiday leaders which can be very useful if you're interested in a career in the organisation.

Another way to get involved is to volunteer at a property near your home, and visit regularly enough to build a working relationship with staff there. Telephone some of the properties nearby and ask if they have any voluntary vacancies… as for travelling to the property the costs are paid by the National Trust so you should not be paying to do any volunteering. They may ask what sort of tasks would you be happy, interested or very keen to try, and if you have any experience in any of these tasks. So it would be a good idea to have visited those properties first to find out what sort of tasks the staff and volunteers do already. Make a few visits and try to observe what's going on - pick up all the leaflets and see if there are any events where you can meet the staff... remember, if you're going on a property open day, the staff might be too busy to answer questions as fully as they'd like to, so keep going to talks and demonstrations until there's an opportunity to offer to help out! It really helps staff if you have found out what sort of tasks happen, you know that you can help out, and you can understand what's helpful and what isn't!

The working holidays website is at this page.

If you have an experience of volunteering with the National Trust, why not update this information with your own story, or use the discussion page if you disagree with anything written already?