Reflecting on Placement – Studland Student Blog


Abby took part in one of our under-16 placements for students under the age of 16 years. Here, she reflects on her time and the lessons learnt.

As I love all things outdoors, I approached a number of organisations to ask whether they could offer me a work experience placement for a fortnight at the end of year 10. Julia, the Dorset Engagement Officer was really enthusiastic and put together an interesting programme for me with the National Trust based in Studland Bay. During the 2 weeks, I spent time supporting 3 different teams, and everyone was welcoming and made the experience very enjoyable and beneficial.

A landscape view of sand dunes, sea and bushes of blooming purple heather.
Studland Dunes by Neil Davidson

Whilst with Julia as a part of the Engagement Team, I went to a school to help with a sustainability day; helped with a ‘Purbeck Free’ event at Studland Bay; and had a really interesting day at Corfe Castle learning about diversity and inclusion – this day was particularly memorable, and I don’t believe I will look at any place in quite the same way again! All were very different in content and experience; however, they all gave insights into different aspects of engagement.

During my time with the Welcome Team, my main focus was on helping members of the public on their visit to Knoll Beach if they needed any assistance. I helped to answer queries, gave parking tickets to those who needed them, litter-picked, and watered the plants around the café and shop area. This showed me the diverse skills all those on the team needed and gave me a variety of experiences within the team.

I was really pleased to be spending most of my time doing various tasks with the Outdoor Facilities Team and loved taking care of some of the beautiful outside spaces in and around Studland. I learnt how to use various tools, such as an impact driver to assist with taking down and rebuilding fencing, and a slasher to cut down bracken in clearings which helps the owls by allowing them to see their prey more clearly. We also cleared out a drain, checked for reptiles under corrugated metal on the heathland, and laid a pipe to help with drainage across a footpath on the woodland walk.

My placement has taught me a variety of skills and I had a fantastic time. All of the staff and volunteers were really friendly, they included me in everything and treated me as one of the team; particularly when I was given a Purbeck NT shirt! I am very grateful for the time and effort they all put in to make me feel welcome. Each day was a new experience, and I will remember it for the rest of my life. It has reinforced my desire to pursue studies in conservation and land management which will allow many others to keep enjoying the outside world.