(above): Brownsea island hosts wildlife skills trainees © Brian Bleese
(below) : Wildlife Skills trainees Beth & Olivia Strimming © Beth Aucott, Wildlife Skills trainees Chris & Naomi identifying plants © Rachel Janes
A new training programme ‘Wildlife Skills’ has been awarded £829,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), allowing four Wildlife Trusts in the South West to train 46 aspiring conservationists over the next three years.
The scheme is designed to address the skills shortages within the South West conservation sector, and has already appointed 16 trainees based at Devon Wildlife Trust, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust. Each will focus on one of three areas; practical conservation, survey & monitoring or volunteer and community engagement. As well as gaining formal qualifications, the trainees will receive complementary training in transferable skills to enhance their future employability and consolidate their learning by working with Wildlife Trust staff.
This new scheme will give those interested in wildlife a real insight into working in conservation
‘Wildlife Skills’ Coordinator, Dr Rachel Janes, said: “This new scheme will give those interested in wildlife a real insight into working in conservation, from learning about communications in the media, to gaining their chainsaw qualifications. After they have completed their year-long placement, trainees will have the skills and confidence to take their careers forward in the work place. The wildlife trusts involved are delighted to be part of this programme, and are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has helped make it happen.”
A special moment for me was introducing a rockpool crab to a child for the first time
Luke Workman, Wildlife Skills volunteer & engagement trainee based at Devon Wildlife Trust said : “A special moment for me was introducing a rockpool crab to a child for the first time, it was great to see the fear of holding the creature be replaced with a fascination and excitement for wildlife. I realised that some of the animals I take for granted, other people have never encountered before. What a privilege it is to be the first person to help this little girl meet a crab for the first time!”
I have already learnt so much; I've improved my identification skills, honed and learnt new practical skills, such as brushcutting
Beth Aucott, Wildlife Skills practical conservation trainee based at Somerset Wildlife Trust said: “The most exciting thing for me so far, apart from seeing my first wild otter, has been working with the people who are so passionate about looking after wildlife. I have already learnt so much; I've improved my identification skills, honed and learnt new practical skills, such as brushcutting, and learnt about grants, working with graziers and management plans.”
The scheme aims to diversify the future of conservation by providing opportunities for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly young people and those in transitional phases of their lives and careers. New placements will be available in summer 2015. For more information about the training scheme please click here.
Notes to Editor
Wildlife Skills is a HLF funded traineeship scheme run within the South West Wildlife Trust partnership involving Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust.
The Wildlife Skills programme was awarded development funding of £9,600 to Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts in June 2013 from HLF. Since then, the trusts have worked together to develop the project and apply for the full grant of £829,200.
For more information please contact Rachel Janes at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Follow us on Twitter @dorsetwildlife and facebook.com/dorsetwildlife
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 26,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
About Somerset Wildlife Trust
Supported by our members Somerset Wildlife Trust has been protecting vulnerable wildlife and preserving wild places for 50 years. We manage 72 nature reserves, provide wildlife-friendly land management advice, campaign and educate to make sure Somerset remains one most wildlife-rich places in the UK. Our vision for the county is ‘an environment rich in wildlife for everyone.’ The Trust is one of 47 in the UK which together make up the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT)
About Devon Wildlife Trust
Devon Wildlife Trust is the county’s leading environmental voluntary body, with more than 32,000 supporters. As an independent charity it cares for 50 nature reserves, including a range of habitats such as woodlands, meadows, wetlands and heaths, along with their wildlife. DWT works with people throughout Devon including local communities, farmers, schools and businesses to promote wildlife and wild-places. Each year DWT invests more than £2million for wildlife conservation and education in Devon. As an independent charity it relies on charitable donations, grants and the generous support of its supporters.
About Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
Our team has a passion for wildlife and for conserving our natural heritage, for promoting greener ideas for living well, for energy management, minimising waste and for encouraging people to explore, experience and enjoy the natural world around them. Since 1962 we’ve been inspiring, informing, including and influencing people across Wiltshire with one aim, to get more people involved in helping us to help protect the environment and promote sustainable living creating a better quality of life for everyone now and for generations to come. For more information phone 01308 725670 or email
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 36,000 projects with £6bn across the UK. For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: 020 7591 6036/07973 613820.