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Apprenticeships prove to be life changing

Isaac Johnston

One of Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s latest Apprentice Conservation Officers, Isaac Johnston, has secured his first job working in nature conservation following his two year apprenticeship at the local nature charity.

The Dales & Fells Rural Apprenticeship scheme, led by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust is part of the Our Bright Future, Green Futures project. It is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and gives young people who live in rural areas the chance to stay and work there.

The two-year scheme combines college studies with certified training courses and hands-on work based experience. Not only does the scheme help local young people to get onto the career ladder, it also invests in their education and personal development.

Isaac Johnston said: “Working with Cumbria Wildlife Trust has been one of the most valuable and enriching experiences I’ve ever had. I have learnt so much and gained so many new skills enabling me to look for a job in conservation. This incredibly varied role has allowed me to work with all departments of Cumbria Wildlife Trust. This has meant I’ve been able to cherry pick aspects of the Trust’s work that I enjoy most and pursue these further. I would highly recommend this amazing opportunity to anyone looking to work in nature conservation.

“In my new job I will be the Glenridding Ranger for the John Muir Trust, and my role will be to support the property manager in achieving the actions within the operational plan. This entails survey and monitoring work, educational visits to the site or local schools and centres, giving talks and guided walks and much more!”

Through the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust initiative, apprentices study part-time towards a Level 2 Diploma in Environmental Conservation at Craven College. They also have the opportunity to take part in a range of specialist training courses to gain certificates in chainsaw and brush cutter use, off-road driving, habitat surveying and tree planting, to name just a few.

Applications are now being welcomed from young people aged 16-24 years old to start apprenticeships in September 2018.

Jo Boulter, Dales & Fells Trainees Co-ordinator at Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, said: “The apprenticeship scheme has been a life-changing opportunity for many of the young people taking part. Some are now working in permanent roles for their employer; others have used their skills and experience to get jobs with organisations in a similar field, and some have gone on to higher education. It’s a fantastic way to gain skills and experience to start your career in the countryside.

“We’ve got exciting opportunities for young people who love the outdoors to train for a career in environmental conservation and countryside management. Starting in summer 2018 our Dales & Fells Rural Apprenticeship scheme offers two years on-the-job experience and training alongside experienced staff at one of several excellent organisations, including Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Ribble Rivers Trust.”

More information and the application form can be found at www.ydmt.org/environmental-apprenticeships

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