Young Europeans volunteer for nature protection


Many young Europeans are concerned about the future of the environment. The European Solidarity Corps, a new EU volunteering scheme will offer young Europeans the opportunity to transform their passion and goodwill into meaningful action. 

The European Solidarity Corps was launched in December 2016. It gives young people aged 18-30 the chance to contribute to causes that are close to their hearts, while developing new skills that can lead into work. It builds on existing EU programmes for young people, as well as mobilising established networks for employment, education and civil society actors Europe.

Those who work as volunteers are living European values each and every day.

European Commission President
Jean-Claude Juncker

The environment strand of the European Solidarity Corps is important. Until December 2018, up to 2000 young people will get the chance to help out in one of the 27 000 or more protected areas in the Natura 2000 network, with the support of the EU’s LIFE programme. Placements will last for two to six months. Volunteers will get their travel, insurance, food and housing costs paid as well as a small allowance.

“The European Solidarity Corps will create opportunities for young people willing to make a meaningful contribution to society and help show solidarity – something the world and our European Union needs more of,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, when launching the Corps. “For me, this has always been the very essence of what the European Union is about. It is not the Treaties or industrial or economic interests that bind us together, but our values. And those who work as volunteers are living European values each and every day.” The Commission aims to recruit 100 000 young people to the Corps by 2020.

Green job experience

Environmental volunteering is a European tradition, testifying to the strong support for nature conservation. In the UK, more than 300 000 volunteers work for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers each year, and in Slovakia environmental volunteering accounts for 13.3% of the total share of volunteering.

While all young volunteers will gain practical skills and experience that will give them an advantage in the labour market, the new scheme also includes an occupational strand leading to training, an apprenticeship or job contract. Europe’s green economy already includes some 4.4 million jobs linked to healthy ecosystems – many of them on Natura 2000 sites.

In future, the Solidarity Corps programme could extend into other environmental areas such as water, waste, air and resource efficiency: all growing sectors in Europe’s green economy.

For those interested in working as a volunteer, you can apply here: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity


Nature and biodiversity