‘Skills for the Future’ is an apprenticeship scheme designed to address shortages in countryside management skills. The first cohort of apprentices (see picture) has just completed an extensive 18 month programme of training which has seen each of them successfully gaining employment in roles where these skills are needed.
‘Skills for the Future’ is one of a number of projects forming the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme (WDLPS) based at Tebay; grant funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Rural communities trying to adapt to the rapidly changing economics of their areas, have experienced a dramatic loss of skilled individuals. The apprenticeship scheme, managed and administered by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, is helping to provide young people with the skills and training needed to address these skills shortages.
Apprentices Abbi, Billy, Rebekah and Sarah have earned themselves level two countryside worker qualifications and have achieved qualifications in skills such as chainsaw, quad bike, strimmer and first aid. This has been alongside work based experience on a wide range of projects; everything from fencing to archaeological surveys and just about everything in between.
Sarah has secured a one year Traineeship with West Cumbria Rivers Trust as an assistant project officer, working on natural flood management on the rivers Cocker and Glenderamackin. Rebekah has accepted a place at Newcastle University to study Environmental Science. Billy has begun a seasonal contract with ‘Continental Landscapes’ based in Kendal and Abbi has started work as an Assistant Project Officer for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on the Wild Ingleborough Project.
Belinda Lloyd, apprentice supervisor said:
“The ‘Skills for the Future’ project has given these apprentices such a varied experience. Everything from drystone walling to wildflower identification. The WDLPS 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.”
A short film documenting their work, their time with the scheme and their ambitions for the future has been made.
Recruitment for the next round of apprentices begins in June but if you’d like to register your interest, contact Belinda Lloyd at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. Belinda.Lloyd@yorkshiredales.org.uk