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Eco Centre in Ireland

Internship and Volunteering
Are you enthusiastic about ecology and sustainability? As a volunteer at an eco-training center in the northwest of Ireland, you can do horticulture, assist with courses and seminars, work at the centres eco-shop and café, and support the centre with many other tasks while improving your knowledge about ecology and sustainability and improving your English language skills. We are working with other, similar eco centers at other locations in Ireland.

What is this program about?

The eco training centre located in northwest of Ireland offers long-term courses, weekend seminars, tours and workshops on topics related to organic horticulture, food production, healthy eating, renewable energy and sustainable living. The participants of such courses are individuals, school classes and clubs such as garden clubs. It is operated by a non-profit organization that focuses on ecology and sustainability and has been in existence since 1995. There are around 20 full and part-time employees as well as local and international volunteers.

How can you get involved?

As a volunteer, you can get involved in various areas and learn a lot:
Vegetable and fruit garden, forest zone, composting
Various types of vegetables and fruits, such as 50 different types of apples, and berries, are grown in the centre's garden outdoors and in polytunnels. There is also a test zone in which the winter hardiness of various genera is tested, a forest zone with native tree species and a demonstration facility for composting. You will help with the care of the beds, plants, composting and harvesting. Please note that these tasks depend on the season and are not done throughout the year.
Courses and seminars
You will help with the planning, preparation and implementation of the courses and seminars.
Organic food shop and café
Seeds, tools, books, plants, vegetables as well as organic and fair trade whole foods are sold in the shop and café. You help out with work in the shop, including customer advice and sales.
Administrative tasks
In the center's office you will be involved in various administrative and planning tasks, such as handling bookings and communication for participation in the courses, doing purchases, stock keeping and finances as well as marketing.
Maintenance and light construction work
You are also involved in the maintenance and light construction work of all the installations in the center, such as the polytunnels, outdoor facilities, the children's playground and shops / cafés.
In the first week you will get an introduction to all tasks. Afterwards you can contribute according to your interests and abilities, but you are also expected to be flexible and to adapt to the needs of the center in your activities.

What are your working hours?

You work 5-7 hours a day, 5 days a week. This can include work on weekends, but then you get weekdays off to compensate.

What prior knowledge do you need?

No previous knowledge is required, but adaptability, flexibility, a sense of responsibility and the ability to work in a team are expected. Openness to other ways of living and thinking is a basic principle of the center. You should enjoy living in the countryside and working outdoors, even in difficult weather conditions. The working at the eco-center also requires basic physical fitness. You should have at least an intermediate level of English.

About the location

The center is located in the countryside in the northwest of the Republic of Ireland, near the border with Northern Ireland. The project is surrounded by lush green hills. The Atlantic Ocean is only 20 km away. The next larger town, Sligo with 20,000 inhabitants, is about 30 km away.
Info Box
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Location: Sligo and other locations in Ireland
Availability: all year round; fixed start dates: 2021: Jul 5, Jul 19, Aug 2, Sep 6, Oct 4, Nov 8. 2022: Jan 1, Feb 7, Mar 7, Apr 4, May 9, May 30, Jun 13, Jul 4, Aug 1, Sep 5, Oct 3, Nov 7
Minimum Duration: 4 weeks
Maximum Duration: 6 months
Minimum age: 18 years
Required Language Skills: English, at least B1 level
Accommodation: House shared with other volunteers. Details in the tab "Accommodation" below
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Supervision possible: Yes
Qualification supervisor: Professionals in agriculture
Minimum qualification of intern: None
Remuneration: No
Volunteering possible: Yes
Required qualification of interns: none
It is expected:
The "right" attitude
Accommodation is in shared houses in the vicinity of the project, each with 2-4 bedrooms. You are usually accommodated in a single room. Only in exceptional cases will you share a room with another person of the same sex. You share the bathroom and basic kitchen with the other residents. There is no wifi in the houses, but at the eco center. Depending on the distance to the eco center, you can get there on foot, by bicycle or by getting picked up by car by an employee of the eco-centre.
Volunteers buy their own food and prepare it themselves, but are reimbursed for the expenses by the eco-center up to a maximum amount that covers normal food expenses. Sometimes food is provided at the eco-centre's café instead.
The costs consist of the program costs and the accommodation costs.
The program costs are:
4-7 weeks: 890 EUR
8-12 weeks: 990 EUR
13 or more weeks: 1090 EUR
The accommodation costs are:
110 EUR per week

This includes:

  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials
  • Pick-up from Cork Airport
  • Hostel Accommodation (dorm room) incl. breakfast in Cork on the first need, dinner with live music on arrival day
  • Orientation session, lunch and city tour in Cork on the day after the arrival
  • Transfer from Cork to your project location by public transport
  • Accommodation at house shared with other volunteers; expenses for groceries are included (see details in the tab "Accommodation")
  • 24 Hours emergency support by our Irish support team
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Travel to/from Cork
  • Transfer back to Cork on your last day
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
This program includes an orientation with walking tour, meals and accommodation in Cork City.
You should book a flight to Cork (airport code: ORK). You will be picked up from Cork Airport and taken to Cork City, where you will spend the first night in Sheilas hostel (shared room).
Alternatively, you can fly to Dublin (DUB) and from there take a bus to Cork. The journey takes about 3.5 hours. Your plane should land in Dublin before 2pm so you can make it to Cork by bus on the same day. We will provide you with precise travel information.
There are fixed start dates, which means that we can ensure that there is always a small group of newly arriving program participants. On the first evening, you will join Welcome Dinner, including with live Irish music.
The next day you will be picked up from the hostel after breakfast at 9:15 am, followed by a 3.5 hour introductory workshop on topics including intercultural training, personal and professional development, and communication. Afterwards there will be lunch (included in the price) and an approximately 2-hour walking tour through Cork City.
You would then go to the accommodation near your project location by public transport. In case of the center in County Leitrim, due to the long distance, you will spend another night at the hostel in Cork and the following morning you will be brought to the bus/train (ticket included) where you will be picked up by a team member of the eco centre and brought to your accommodation.
Your volunteer work will then start the following day.

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