Bainbridge, 1 October 2019
The youngest employees at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority - all drawn from the local area - have spoken about their work in high-quality videos designed for use by schools and at careers fairs.
Out of an employee headcount of 151 (or 121 'full time equivalent'), 11 members of staff are now apprentices - a record for the Park Authority. Four are 'Countryside Worker' apprentices in the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership scheme; three are in the ranger service; and the rest are in communications, archaeology, land management and planning, respectively.
The figures show that alongside the likes of the Wensleydale Creamery and the Bolton Abbey Estate, the National Park Authority is one of the biggest employers in the Park. 54% of its staff live in the Park, while most of the rest travel in from towns on the edge of it, such as Leyburn and Skipton.
The videos and apprenticeship schemes are part of urgent efforts to retain and attract younger people to live and work in the National Park - a key objective in the new Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan 2019-24. Official figures show that since 2010, there has been a continued marked increase in the number of over-65s living in the Park, with a corresponding marked decrease in the number of children living in the Park. The resident population of the Park has fallen by just over 500 people over the same period, and now stands at 23,488.
Carl Lis, Chairman of Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: "The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a fantastic place to live and work - just listen to our apprentices.
"Since beginning our apprenticeship programmes only a few years ago, we've been delighted by how much energy young staff have brought to the Park Authority. The thread running through the videos is how much our apprentices care for the environment and communities of the National Park - and that is inspiring."