Two youth volunteers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority have secured exciting new ‘green’ jobs.
Lydia Gill (27) from Hawes is joining Dartmoor National Park Authority as a Ranger Apprentice, while Alice Rich (22) from Ilkley is joining the Leeds City Council trees team.
Both have been volunteering through the Generation Green ‘Up Skill, Down Dale’ youth volunteering programme, which aims to provide skills to support a route to employment in the ‘green economy’ through inspiration, experiences, skills training, and career development.
Nick Cotton, Member Champion for Recreation Management at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “We’re thrilled that Lydia and Alice have secured such great opportunities, which is testament to their hard work and focus, and I’d like to thank officers in the Trees & Woodlands and Ranger teams who mentored them both throughout their time with us.
“When we presented our volunteering strategy last month we said that young people should be the inspiration and catalyst for growing our green economy, and our approach will hopefully support their journey through education and volunteering into employment”.
Alison Stevens, Head of Education & Youth at YHA (England & Wales), which is hosting the Generation Green project on behalf of the 15 partners, said: “I am delighted that Generation Green has been able to act as the steppingstone to Lydia and Alice’s new careers in the outdoors. At the end of the 16-month project, Generation Green will have provided over 100,000 opportunities throughout England to support young people, like Lydia and Alice, to gain access to routes to employment. This is part of a longer term aim to diversify the workforce of the wider outdoor sector, so that we can build towards a more inclusive and representative future.”
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority currently has 12 youth volunteers as part of the Generation Green ‘Up Skill, Down Dale’ youth volunteering programme, and recently announced ambitious new education, engagement and volunteering plans aimed at young people and under-represented groups.
About Lydia and Alice
Lydia started volunteering with the ‘Up Skill, Down Dale’ programme in April 2021. She has volunteered extensively over many projects in the National Park and attended a First Aid course, as well as National Park Awareness and Navigation courses run by Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Rangers. She also attended monthly ‘Up Skill, Down Dale’ sessions, which involved a range of activities, including e-DNA river surveying with the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, bee and flower identification and surveys, practical tasks such as tree planting with the Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected project, bracken bashing conservation, and drystone walling.
Lydia has volunteered in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority education team supporting primary and secondary school group visits and activities. She has conducted visitor surveys at the Aysgarth Falls National Park Visitor Centre and tree surveys with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Trees & Woodlands team.
More recently Lydia, together with another ‘Up Skill, Down Dale’ volunteer, met with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak at YHA Grinton Lodge in his constituency to talk about the programme.
Alice joined the ‘Up Skill, Down Dale’ programme in August 2021. She has a Geography degree from Durham and is particularly interested in conservation projects at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. She attended monthly ‘Up Skill, Down Dale’ sessions which involved a range of activities, including e-DNA river surveying with the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, bee and flower identification and surveys, an employment application workshop, and QGIS training (Geographic Information System).
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority facilitated a 4-month volunteer placement for Alice with the Trees & Woodlands Team, volunteering one day a week from September 2021. This work has proved valuable for both the National Park Authority and Alice.
About Generation Green
Generation Green is a 16-month funded project that aims to connect young people to nature, create and save jobs, and build an aspirant workforce for a green recovery.
Through new jobs, training, volunteering roles, residentials, and outdoor and online learning experiences, the project will provide more than 100,000 opportunities to connect young people to nature – many for the first time – and to cultivate a sense of care for the natural environment.
It is the first project to be delivered by the Access Unlimited coalition. The coalition comprises YHA (England & Wales) – who are hosting the project on behalf of the partners – The Outward Bound Trust, Scouts, Girlguiding, Field Studies Council and the 10 English National Parks.
‘Up Skill, Down Dale’ is just one of the programmes offered as part of the Generation Green project, aimed at young people aged 14 to 30 who would like to ‘make their mark on the Park’ and develop their knowledge and confidence by getting involved in skilled volunteer placements.