Training the countryside guardians of tomorrow as apprenticeship donations top £2m - National Trust

Person dry stone walling (National Trust images/Paul Harris)
The Snowdonia appeal supports vital conservation work (National Trust images/Paul Harris)

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. This apprenticeship has grown out of the hard work and dedication of a committed group of employers, who have put their time into making this a reality even in these uncertain and challenging times. The countryside ranger apprenticeship will be particularly exciting news for countryside workers, giving a clear route for progression and a chance to build a career inspiring people to look after our green spaces.”

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.”

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