Some of the UK’s largest conservation organisations have joined forces to find the countryside guardians of tomorrow, as new figures show record amounts have been donated for apprenticeships.
At the start of National Apprenticeship Week (8 – 14 February), eight major land managers, including the National Trust, Natural England, National Park authorities, Canal and River Trust, RSPB, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and Dorset Council, have launched a new government-backed qualification which sees new countryside rangers achieving the equivalent to a foundation degree through on-the-job training.
The new level 4 countryside ranger apprenticeship will help individuals wanting to progress within countryside management, and will help employers looking to hire someone new or upskill existing employees. Once complete, apprentices will be qualified in roles such as countryside, community or recreation rangers, reserve or countryside wardens, estate supervisor or estate and park rangers.
Jonathan Mitchell, Deputy Director for Standards Development at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, said,
The protection of our natural environment is absolutely crucial work, and the new countryside ranger apprenticeship gives people a great opportunity to work in England’s beautiful countryside.
Employers, training providers and professional bodies from across the countryside management sector have helped design and develop the new qualification as part of the Countryside Ranger Trailblazer group, led by National Trust Dartmoor ranger Demelza Hyde. She said:
This is an exciting opportunity for people with some prior knowledge and experience to gain a qualification, additional knowledge and skills to help progress their career in countryside management. Our new standard has been developed over the last 20 months by specialists from our industry. It is tailored to the specifics of a ranger job role and more in-line with employers’ needs.
The theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Build the Future’, so it’s very apt that we are launching this new qualification to uncover the countryside managers of the future.
Bridgwater & Taunton College currently offer the Level 3 Water Environment Worker and Level 2 Countryside worker and work with the National Trust in locations across the country to deliver each of the programmes.
Adam Collett, Course Leader on the Countryside Apprenticeships at Bridgwater & Taunton College said,
The Countryside Ranger Level 4 Apprenticeship will provide much needed practical experience in the workplace alongside building the knowledge required to tackle the challenging role of being a ranger in the British countryside. We hope that a wide range of wildlife and conservation organisations will be able to take advantage of this training using the apprenticeship programme and this will lead to a highly qualified and experienced workforce who are able to care for our wild places and environment.
Find out more about apprenticeships at BTC here.