Careers: How I Got Here - Tom Buxton, communication and development manager, Groundwork

What was your first job? Apart from working in a variety of factories as a student, my first job was as a local involvement officer at Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council in the West Midlands.

What does your current role involve? I head a team of four responsible for developing new projects. I work closely with our partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors, raising funds for environmental projects that help to regenerate communities and improve the quality of life. My team and I then hand the developed project over to the other Groundwork teams such as the landscape or the business team, which are responsible for implementing it. I am also in charge of the charity's communications and marketing.

Roughly outline your career path I spent a year volunteering with BTCV as part of my degree in countryside management at Newcastle University.

After travelling for a year in Africa, I began volunteering for Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council's local involvement programme, and was subsequently taken on. The initiative aims to involve local people in parks management and regeneration. After that, I started at Groundwork West London as a development officer.

What training has most enhanced your career? A two-year part-time master's degree in urban regeneration at Westminster University a few years ago.

What has been your greatest career achievement? A project I developed following my master's. It aimed to get long-term unemployed people into the landscape industry.

What is your advice to people starting out in this sector? Do your time as a volunteer. The experience you will gain from that will take you a step further when competing for a job.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time? Oxfam and Shelter.

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