Case Study: Wilder Career Choice Traineeships
The project delivered a programme of one year, multi-skill traineeships for young people, to help them pursue careers in conservation or land management. The Trainees work towards a City & Guilds accredited Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in Work-based Environmental Conservation. The trainees’ time is shared between two or three local businesses or organisations to maximise the learning experience on offer.
From February 2016 – March 2018, four Trainees were on placement with one of four employers – the Stiperstones and Corndon Landscape Partnership Scheme (HLF funded project led by Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership), Natural England at the Stiperstones NNR, the National Trust based at Church Stretton, and a small local business ‘Habitat & Access Management’. All four trainees will have successfully completed a City and Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Work-based Environmental Conservation. The individual trainees were paid a monthly bursary (total £9,000 each). They also had a training budget of £1,500 to enable them to attain technical certificates to enhance their skills and experience, and a clothing and equipment allowance of £250.
What was done
After an initial unsuccessful attempt to contract out delivery of this innovative traineeship programme, it was brought in-house within the Landscape Partnership Scheme team. A part-time (3 days per week) Training Officer/Assessor post was created to support and mentor the trainees with the City & Guilds award and portfolio building.
Recruitment of a qualified and occupationally competent Training Officer/Assessor was vital, and the City & Guilds Diploma was delivered through Warwickshire Wildlife Trust as an approved City & Guilds Centre (i.e. providing registration, Certification and IQA services). The Training Officer led the recruitment of work placement providers, and liaised with them to coordinate a programme of work-based training appropriate to the accredited Diploma. She also managed the advertising for and recruitment of annual traineeships (4 in total over two years).
The traineeships equip trainees with the practical heritage skills needed to achieve full-time employment in the heritage sector by developing qualified and skilled new entrants into the sector to address the sector’s skills shortages. They equip young people with a varied skill set who can then recruit and train other people and cascade their skills for the benefit of the wider community.
By the end of February 2018, 4 trainees (1 male and 3 female) will have:
- Completed an initial skills assessment to identify key areas for their development and training, with a focus on areas of particular personal interest, followed by quarterly reviews identifying ongoing development needs.
- A wider range of experience and enhanced skills base, e.g. improved communications skills, project management and leadership skills.
- Enhanced skills to maintain natural heritage, e.g. habitat management skills, countryside construction skills and field survey skills.
- Experience of a range of methods to engage people in natural heritage e.g. use of digital media, community consultation, leading volunteer groups.
- A portfolio of evidence to demonstrate their learning, including witness statements, photographs and diaries of work and projects they have undertaken in support of a City and Guilds level 2 Diploma in Work-based Environmental Conservation.
- Used an individual training budget (£1,500) to gain technical certificates and attend a number of additional courses e.g. NPTC chainsaw cross-cutting and felling, Lantra brushcutter, NPTC PA1/PA6, Lantra sit-in ATV, Phase 1 habitat surveying, First Aid at Work certificate.
- Have worked alongside experienced members of staff who have gradually increased the trainee’s responsibilities as their confidence and skill base increases, and completed individual projects/tasks within each placement.
Become advocates in their local community by promoting ways in which people can improve natural heritage in their own locality and promoting the work of the conservation and land-based sectors.
Support of the partner organisations listed above in offering 12 month real work experience placements and supporting and mentoring the individual trainees. The range of partners involved meant that the trainees experienced working in the public sector, charities and with a self-employed local contractor. The support of an experienced Training Officer/Assessor to guide and mentor the trainees through the City & Guilds Award.
This project is part of the wider Stiperstones and Corndon Hill Country Landscape Partnership Scheme (2013-18), funded by HLF, for which the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership is the lead partner.
Quote from project manager:
“It has been a pleasure to deliver this project and make a significant difference to the employability of the four local young people involved. It has benefited them by enhancing their practical and personal skills real work situations e.g. habitat management, surveying, countryside construction (fences, waymarkers, steps, etc.) managing volunteers, communicating with members of the public and local communities.” – Jen Jones
Quote from participant:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far as a trainee with the Stiperstones and Corndon LPS. I have been able to participate in a variety of different activities, including practical management, survey work, events and working with children and young people. I have found this to be highly rewarding, and feel I have increased my skills and knowledge of practical conservation. Through my training budget I have been able to gain my chainsaw license for cross cutting and felling, as well as becoming a fully trained First Aider. I look forward to what the remaining months of my placement will bring.”
Key search words: Training, young people, skills
Photo Credits: Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership