I’m Rebekah Allison, and have just completed my Countryside Worker Apprenticeship with the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme. I was part of a team of four apprentices, managed by our Apprentice Supervisor, Belinda Lloyd.
The role involved practical conservation tasks such as walling, fencing, hedgelaying, path management/resurfacing and surveying of birds, trees, wildflowers and archaeology within the Westmorland Dales.
Since we were employed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, we were also given opportunities to work with the Access Rangers and take part in other projects around the Yorkshire Dales. We visited Aysgarth Falls, where we coppiced some of the woodland for the dormice, and helped to construct some leaky dams in Snaizeholme for flood alleviation in the area.
Over the last 18 months I learned a wide range of traditional countryside skills, alongside gaining qualifications in the use of chainsaws, brushcutters, pesticides, quad bikes and off road vehicles.
This experience has allowed me to gain a wider perspective on the environment and how we can help it. I have been able to build a number of relationships with people from various partner organisations such as Friends of the Lake District, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Eden Rivers Trust. Also, you get the opportunity to work outside in some beautiful areas with a great team who will soon become your friends.
The apprenticeship has opened many doors for me with regards to my future career. I now have work experience in various conservation activities, which is valued highly in this sector. Other members of my team have gone on to do traineeships with the West Cumbria Rivers Trust and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, and another is working for Continental Landscapes in Kendal, where they use many of the skills they learned in their apprenticeship. For me, the apprenticeship confirmed my love for the environment and conservation, and I decided to go to university to study Environmental Science and build upon my knowledge further.
I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship, as you gain so much knowledge and work experience whilst earning a wage at the same time! If you want to work outside (and you don’t mind the rain) this apprenticeship is the one for you.
I loved the 18 months I spent working for the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership; it was an amazing experience and anyone considering applying should do it.
It could be YOU!
Looking for your first paid position within conservation? We now have four new Countryside Worker (Level 2) Apprenticeships to offer enthusiastic individuals who would like to gain the skills necessary for a career in land management or wildlife conservation.
You don’t need to come with all the know how – just bring the right attitude. You will learn everything on the job. All applications are welcome.
“It doesn’t matter what gender, ethnicity or background you have,” said Belinda Lloyd, Apprentice Supervisor, “If you’d love to work in the outdoors and you’ve got a positive approach to learning, you should apply for this apprenticeship.”
The ‘Skills for the Future’ project is part of the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme, a programme grant-funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which aims to reveal, conserve and celebrate the hidden heritage of the area that became part of the extended Yorkshire Dales National Park in 2016.
To find out more visit www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/vacancies
For an informal chat about this opportunity, please contact Belinda on 07971 528776.
The closing date for applications is 5pm on 27 June 2021.
The ‘Skills for the Future’ project has given our first four apprentices such a varied experience. Everything from drystone walling to wildflower identification. The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme has offered them unique opportunities in heritage skills too.
I’m immensely proud that all four have stayed on in the land-based sector and that the countryside skills learnt here, will be used and passed on.Belinda Lloyd
Apprentice Supervisor, Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership
Want to find out more?
Enjoy this short film documenting the apprentices’ work, their time with the scheme and their ambitions for the future www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/news/skills-for-the-future-film
IMAGES: Making a tree cage (Steve Holroyd); ‘Skills for the Future’ film stills (Jon Chappell)