Every year, Global Action Plan runs Catalyst, a training programme that helps young people become leaders in environmental behaviour change. We invite five of the participants to join us at GAP on a one-year placement. For this year’s round of Catalysts, that placement will soon be coming to an end – and a new group joined us this week.As we prepare to say goodbye to the Catalyst Class of 2015, and welcome the Class of 2016, Zanna, one of our Catalyst “graduates”, tells the new intake what they can expect from their year at GAP. 
Why did you want to take part in the Catalyst programme?

I graduated from university with a degree in Biology, and I saw myself heading for a career in conservation. After five months volunteering abroad, I returned to the UK expecting to pick up a job pretty quickly, but  four months later I was still on the hunt and my confidence was quickly diminishing. When I saw the advert for the Catalyst programme, I was drawn to the opportunity to learn more about sustainability in the context of behaviour change. Along with this, the chance to get a job in the sector made it a no-brainer.

What is your biggest achievement from the last year?

Zanna was a bit modest about answering this question, so we asked around the office for their thoughts! GAP Programme Manager Luke said:

“One of Zanna's great achievements was chairing Water Explorer’s fortnightly teleconference with 11 delivery partners from around the world. This really was quite a step up for her and hugely beneficial for the team”
What is the hardest challenge you have faced, and how did you overcome it?

I think I was surprised at how much responsibility I was trusted with from such an early stage in my year at Global Action Plan. As this position was my first full time role I was worried about making mistakes, missing deadlines and disappointing my team. It didn’t happen overnight, but I learnt to ask questions and make sure I fully understood my responsibilities. Being faced with new tasks that pushed me out of my comfort zone really helped increase my confidence.

What about this year has inspired you?

I’ve spent a lot of my year in GAP working on an educational project called Water Explorer. The project was in its first stages when I joined and since then I’ve seen the programme launch in eleven different countries. I’ve been really inspired by the knowledge and passion shown by so many of the students in the programme. The fact they are actively thinking about global water issues at their age is great and some of the innovative things they’ve done to save water and change other people’s behaviour are remarkable.

What would your advice be to the next round of Catalysts?

Make it obvious which parts of your work you really enjoy (this doesn’t mean moan about the stuff you don’t enjoy!). GAP are good at recognising talent, and will make space wherever possible for you to develop in the areas you enjoy the most.

Find out more about the Catalyst programme