Successful ‘Wild Paths’ training scheme returns to combat skills shortage

Successful ‘Wild Paths’ training scheme returns to combat skills shortage

The Wild Paths training scheme is now open for new applications. This popular training programme is back to train Dorset’s next conservationists in protecting the county’s wildlife and wild places. The scheme is run in collaboration with the South West Wildlife Trusts and training will begin again in September 2021 following a year’s break due to Covid-19. This is the final year for National Lottery Heritage Funded traineeships.

As part of its Skills for the Future programme, the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) has already enabled five Wildlife Trusts in the South West to train 20 aspiring conservationists since 2018, in response to skills shortages within the South West conservation sector. The scheme will appoint 10 new trainees to start in September 2021.

Traineeships will be based at Avon Wildlife Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Each will focus on practical conservation, working with volunteers, and engaging people and communities with their natural heritage. As well as gaining formal qualifications, and a bursary, the trainees will receive complementary training in transferable skills, to enhance their future employability and consolidate their learning, by working with Wildlife Trust staff.   

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Wild Paths Coordinator, Colleen Smith-Moore, said: “This scheme will give those interested in wildlife a real insight into working in conservation, from wildlife survey skills, to gaining their chainsaw qualifications and leading engagement activities. After they have completed their 10-month long placement, trainees will have the skills and confidence to take their careers forward in the workplace. The Wildlife Trusts involved are delighted to be part of this programme, and are grateful to National Lottery players, who have helped make it happen.”

The Wildlife Trusts are keen to reflect the diversity of the British community within our workforce and applications from people from disadvantaged backgrounds or under-represented groups, for example people with disabilities, from the LGBTQ+ community or from ethnic minorities are particularly welcome.

More information about the scheme and how to apply for the 10 placements available can be found at