Gotoco

It’s time to get abroad! 

Join our Eco Education programme in Guatemala to take the first steps into a career in the environmental sector. Along the way, experience a fascinating new culture and language(s), and gain valuable qualifications and skills.

We are delighted to invite you to join us in Guatemala on a 12-week placement involving permaculture design training and qualification, ecotechnology internships, a certificate in climate change and environmental awareness, lectures in Guatelaman history and culture, homestay with a Mayan family, intensive Spanish lessons, excursions, and volunteering placements! 

This placement is intended to help you to launch a career in this fascinating sector, and it’s all funded – that includes flights, accommodation, language lessons, an internationally recognised permaculture design qualification!

 

Upcoming intakes:
We will have 2x month intakes each month in early 2023. You can sign up for one on the bottom of this page!

 

 

 

What do you get?

What do you get?

This Guatemala eco education programme is your launchpad for a global and impactful career. On the programme, you will receive:

  • Full funding to cover your flights, weekday meals, and accommodation.
  • An internationally recognised Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC)
  • 2 weeks of intensive Spanish lessons 
  • A Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Climate Change and Environmental Awareness
  • A hands-on internship in ecotechnology (either regenerative landscape design, ecological coffee processing, or appropriate technology) 
  • Personal and community support, including 24/7 support for emergencies.
  • A wide range of volunteering placement opportunities 
  • Lectures in Guatemalan history and culture from local experts
  • Excursions to places of interest around Lake Atitlan
  • Support for anyone that wishes to transition into local career pathways.

What does the training include?

Before starting your teaching placement in Colombia, you will join our induction teaching and culture training programme. The training will start on arrival and usually run for a week, and all your accommodation and meals will be fully-funded during that period. The training will include:

  • Trinity TESOL training online.
  • Spanish culture and language lessons.
  • Local host crash course and induction, to ready you for their teaching placements.
  • Personal travel time to explore Bogota further before your teaching placement begins.

Further info on how the programme works:

This is a new Gotoco programme launching in November 2022,  funded by the Turing Scheme. It will take place on/around Lake Atitlán, which is in a volcanic crater in the Guatemalan Highlands in Central America.

The programme combines permaculture design training and certification, sustainable technology internships, volunteering, guest lectures in Guatemalan culture and history, intensive Spanish lessons, homestay with a Mayan family, volunteering projects, and excursions.


The programme will start with a 2 week training period at the Mesoamerican Institute of Permaculture (IMAP). After receiving your Permaculture Design Certificate, you will then spend 2 weeks with a Mayan host family while receiving daily Spanish lessons and studying for your Level 2 Certificate in Climate Change and Environmental Awareness.

After this, you will go to Green New World to learn hands-on skills in ecotechnology. You will take a 3-week internship in either regenerative landscape design or ecological coffee processing – along with 1-day introductory courses in topics such as photovoltaic system design and sustainable building. Applicants with the appropriate STEM background (A-Level and above) can take a 2-month internship in rainwater catchment or greywater filtration system design.

You will spend the remaining time on the programme using your new and preexisting skills volunteering on a local project that needs your help (this could be landscaping, construction, farming, teaching, gardening, photography, marketing, etc).

Costs for flights, accommodation, food, in-country transport, qualifications, and excursions will be covered by Gotoco. 

How do you apply?

Please apply 4 weeks before an intake start date. Places filled on a rolling basis.

To apply you need to:

  • Be UK-linked. E.g. UK citizens, UK nationals, UK work/student visa holders.
  • Be at least 19 years old.
  • Be an advanced/native English speaker.
  • Be available and excited to travel to Guatemala.
  • A background in environmental work/education/activism is a bonus, but not required.

This programme is ideal for recent graduates from UK universities and colleges, but is open to anyone, including mid-career changers! There is extra support available for applicants from widening participation backgrounds, including all funding you may need to make this happen. You will be able to indicate if this applies to you on your application form. 

*We are keen to welcome candidates with ‘non-traditional’ educational backgrounds (e.g university isn’t required).

**If you do not have the right to work in the UK, you won’t be eligible for our funding and so we cannot welcome you into this programme. If this is you, please email us and we would strive to offer something or atleast give advise on other opportunities.

You can apply right now, just login!. If you don’t have an account yet, you can apply now on this page!




 

FAQs

As part of the application process, you will have a video interview with our team, giving you the chance to ask any questions that you have. For now, please find answers to common questions below and feel free to email us at [email protected] if your question isn’t answered here. 

More and more, we recognize the need to become agents of change and reduce the impact of the current global economic model, which destroys our environment and oppresses our  society. How exactly do we achieve this?

Permaculture asks this question and gives a guide to imitate the patterns and relationships found in nature. The philosophy proposes a path towards a more conscious life, a more efficient way of designing our homes, our food sources, our place in the natural world, and much more. Permaculture aims not only to protect the environment, but also to use its riches to sustain future generations.

Being a PDC-certified designer is a big step towards making a difference!

Guatemala is a multicultural society, with just under half of the population belonging to indigenous groups. The largest of these groups is ‘Maya’, which has 22 subgroups. ‘Mayan’ refers to the peoples and languages of these groups.

In Lake Atitlán, 90% of the population is Mayan. To the north of the lake, the population is predominately Kaqchiquel. To the south, the population is predominately Tzutujil


There is no maximum age limit, but you must be at least 19 years old by your programme start date. 

No. We are keen to make opportunities available to whomsoever is interested! So please apply. We do focus our recruitment efforts at universities but that is primarily because students are always excited about joining these sorts of initiatives.

We are very happy to consider applications from those without a university background or those that have graduated already. The minimum age limit is 18, and there is no maximum age limit. Anyone under 19 isn’t included in our training course funding, thus would need to self-fund approx. £400.

We have no additional requirements other than that you be open to an adventure and excited about permaculture, ecotechnology, and experiencing Guatemala.

 

Yes, of course. We only require that you speak advanced-level English and that you have been normally resident in the UK or EU for the past 3 years.


You can apply anytime, but the sooner you apply the better because we make offers on a rolling basis. There is no cut-off point for applications. However, if you want to be sure of a place, it is best to apply right now.

Please fill out an application form anyway – we can look into arranging alternative activities for you during the 2-week Spanish lesson period. 

British citizens do not require a visa to travel to Guatemala, and can remain there for up to 90 days visa-free (which is under the programme length). If you do not have British citizenship, please check your country’s government guidance on travel to Guatemala. 

 

Your programme will give you the time, space, and support to work out what you want to do next: whether that be continuing working in environmental fields in the local area, returning to with your learning to the UK, or continuing your travels in another country.

Our professional development programme will support you in working out your interests, values and skills and in identifying what career areas you want to pursue. 

Eligible applicants will receive full funding to cover the training and programme costs, including flights, visa, FE course training, and pre-programe tourism.

This means that the programme is fully accessible with no upfront cost to you. You do, however, need to pay a small commitment deposit (£200) when your application is accepted and place is confirmed. This deposit is returned when you end your placement. We may ask for additional funding if we are buying your flights for you – usually we take a 50% security against the fare to protect against no-shows on flights (this is intended to make it easier for you to afford to fly!)

There is also extra support available for applicants from widening participation backgrounds, including all funding you may need to make this happen. You will be able to indicate if this applies to you on your application form and we will contact you with more information. 

No! But you will be given Spanish lessons during your training to make sure you know enough to get around and have a good grounding in the language. You’ll then be able to keep learning the language throughout your time in country.

We will review your application and get back to you asap about the next steps, including a video interview with our team, giving you the opportunity to ask any questions that you have. 

If you’re successful, you’ll be invited to confirm your place by signing our terms and paying a small commitment deposit (£200). The commitment deposit will be returned to you once you end your placement.

We will then guide you through the visa and flight booking process and make sure you’re fully prepared for travelling. 

No! You will be joining a group of Gotoco’ers for your training and programme. You will work with them throughout your placement. You will sometimes be in different localities, but will have each other as a social network and receive cultural activities and fun from our coordinator team during time-off. So, you will be socially integrated from the start.

To be eligible for full funding for the programme (such as for flights and the training), you need to reside in the UK, and have the right to work in the UK – this could be through citizenship, residency, leave to remain, a student visa, or other kinds of visa that give you the right to work in the UK.