UnemployedNet supports The Mirror’s Get Britain Working campaign.
The Mirror has moved its campaign on to advice on how to get a job in gardening and the outdoors.
It has found more than 22,000 current vacancies, showing there may be more work in this area than you think.
The work is suitable for those who don’t like the regular office environment, and it keeps you physically fit as well.
The jobs are available all year round, although some can be seasonal and many council parks departments and others take on extra help in the summer time, and this can provide a good route in for those without much experience.
Construction has been suffering during the recession, but plenty of opportunities exist here for those who are motivated and flexible.
‘As part of our Get Britain Working campaign we have found 22,282 vacancies for jobs in the great outdoors.
For many people, staring at a computer screen day in, day out or working in a shop or factory fills them with dread. They would rather face the elements and be in the fresh air.
Job options are endless and include working on the land, improving the environment, sports-related activities and roles in the construction industry.
There are plenty of opportunities to work in all parts of the UK, in towns and cities, as well as in the countryside.
Careers are available at every level and you can join after leaving school, college or university – or even after gaining experience in other occupations.
“There are many vocational professions, ranging from horticulture to animal care, which allow you to spend most of your working day outside,” says David Rose, chief executive of KEITS Training Services.
“The good news is, there are plenty of industry-recognised training opportunities for everyone, particularly young people, ranging from apprenticeships to diplomas.
“This training is vital for up-skilling people with the crucial technical and practical skills required for a strong and healthy economy.”
If you want to, you can even set up your own business offering services such as gardening, dog walking, or window cleaning.
The worker's view
Football mad Liam Balmer first knew he loved working outdoors when he was 13 and volunteered to help at Ashford Town (Middlesex) Football Club.
He says: "They were looking for help keeping the ground tidy and I leapt at the chance. I loved it and carried on there doing part-time work during school holidays right up until I was 16."
At first Liam thought he would stay on to take A-levels at sixth form, but after only a few weeks he realised he needed to get out of the classroom, get outdoors and start working.
"I started scouring around for an apprenticeship and found just what I was looking for with local company Kingston Garden Services," says Liam, 19.
"The fact that I had been doing the work at the football club in grounds maintenance stood me in good stead. They could see I was serious about wanting to learn the trade."
He embarked on his NVQ Level 2 in Horticulture, with KEITS Training Services providing the assessments and guidance he needed to pass indoors the work-based apprenticeship. "From the very start I just really loved it," Liam says. "I was working on landscaping mostly and every six weeks I'd meet my assessor who would go through everything I had been doing. The work was just what I wanted - physical, outdoors and different every day."
At the end of last year, Liam moved on to a new job at the University of Surrey as a groundsman.
"I loved my old job but this one is giving me so many fantastic training opportunities," he says.
"I am involved in everything from snow clearance to general maintenance like keeping hedges and lawns tidy."
The machinery and equipment Liam uses every day ranges from tractors to ride-on mowers and he is learning everything he needs to know about plant and shrub care.
He says: "I have the chance to go on and get more qualifications, which is fantastic for my future career."
Liam isn't bothered in the slightest by the fact that current temperatures tend to be sub-zero.
"I don't care what the weather is doing - I just want to be outside," he laughs. "I would go insane if I had to be working indoors all the time."
Where are the jobs?
Despite the fact that winter is upon us, there are still hundreds of outdoor jobs available, with thousands more expected as we head towards spring.
At Jobcentre Plus (www.gov.uk/jobsearch), we found 817 “land” jobs, including 468 gardeners and groundsmen. Another key area to find work outside an office is in building and construction where, especially in the early stages of large-scale projects, workers get to brave the elements.
From brickies and labourers to roofers and glaziers, there are jobs up and down the country.
There are 18,903 outdoor positions up for grabs at JobCentre Plus, including 1,490 bricklayers (nationwide from £12 an hour), 11,632 labourers (from Plymouth to Carlisle, £6.30 plus) and 1,150 scaffolders.
Add to this 1,220 delivery jobs, 822 window cleaners, stevedores and dockers, and you can easily stay out and about.
At www.fish4jobs.co.uk, we found 70 agricultural jobs including a youth worker in County Durham (from £18,087) and 211 outdoor construction positions, such as bricklayers in Worcester (negotiable).
We tracked down 2,281 more jobs at www.reed.co.uk, including a wall tiler in Malvern, Worcestershire (£20,140), a traffic management operative in Portsmouth (negotiable), and a bricklaying squad in Aberdeen (negotiable).
Gardeners can usually earn from around £11,000 to £19,000 or more a year, though self-employed gardeners usually arrange an hourly rate with their customers. Average rates vary according to the area of the country, but can be as low as £9 an hour rising to £20 in London.
KEITS Training Services: www.keits.co.uk
University of Surrey: www.surrey.ac.uk
Local government Jobs: www.lgjobs.com
Horticulture jobs: www.growcareers.info’