Back in June last year the Heritage Lottery Fund confirmed it would be supporting a bid from Somerset Wildlife Trust in conjunction with Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts, to fund 16 Wild Future Trainees across the trusts for a year (pictured) with further funding for the scheme to run for three consecutive years. Fast forward twelve months and the first set of trainees have just arrived!
Who are we?
We are: Beth Aucott - Practical Conservation Trainee for the Mendips, Olivia Dullaghan - Practical Conservation Trainee for Taunton and the surrounding area, Chris Couldrey - Survey and Monitoring Trainee, and myself, Claire Critchley - Volunteer and Community Engagement Trainee. We all started on the 1st of July with excitement and intrepidation at what the year might bring, and so far we’ve been pretty lucky. We saw an Otter at Westhay on only on our second day and have just come back from a week in the beautiful Brownsea Island with our counterpart Trainees from Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire, where we gained our Level 2 in Health and Safety and Emergency First Aid at Work Qualifications amongst the peacocks and red squirrels in glorious sunshine.
It’s an amazing opportunity for people of any age or background to gain paid full time, real world experience for a full year in a professional work environment, within a sector so frequently oversubscribed. With an opportunity as good as this at stake the competition was high with applicants from all over the country and it really is a privilege to be selected.
This year has provided me with the bridge between full time volunteering with the Wildlife Trust and working full time in a role I am passionate about and which utilises my skills and personality to its’ true potential. It also means we can learn about all aspects of the job which as volunteers we previously might not have had access to, for example writing risk assessments and leading our own projects. Whilst, also continuing our own specific professional development by gaining qualifications relevant to our role. Best of all, at Somerset Wildlife Trust we get to learn all of this in a supportive and friendly atmosphere, surrounded by inspiring colleagues and role models who have already made it in our desired profession. This experience will enable provide us all with solid foundations on which to build our future careers as custodians and role models inspiring others and protecting the world around us.
Over the year expect to see us all out and about working with local schools and community groups, helping maintain the numerous SWT reserves and surveying all manner of creatures big and small. You can also follow our progress on here on the website and on Twitter
where we’ll be providing regular updates and sharing pictures of anything interesting we come across.