Somerset Wildlife Trust

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The A to Z of Being a Trainee

 23rd Apr 2015

Applications for the next set of Wildlife Skills Trainees are now open so to help you decide if you could be the next trainee, and find out a little bit more about the scheme we wrote an A to Z to tell you all about life as a Trainee.

A is for Adventure

From visiting new places to completing exhilarating challenges, you can never really predict what’s waiting round the corner.

B is for Botany


Regardless of your background or role, there will always be a plant you don’t know and an expert within the trust who can help you identify it.

C is for Chainsaws

One of the most valued tickets for practical conservation jobs but a massive expense which is why Wildlife Skills made it included for all practical conservation trainees. 

Beth and Olivia at Chainsaw Training cropped credit Beth Aucott

D is for Dorset, Devon and WIltshire

The other Wildlife Trusts who also have Trainees involved in the scheme who we regularly meet up for shared training with.

E is for Education

Not just as part of the Community and Volunteer Engagement role but this throughout your entire experience you will learn so much not just new skills but about working for a conservation organisation, yourself and so much more!

cropped Claire forest schools credit Claire Critchley

F is for Fun!

Being a trainee is hard work but it is also a lot of fun.

G is for GIS training

GIS is becoming an integral part of the work carried out not just on Somerset Wildlife Trust reserves but internationally, which is why it’s included for the Surveying and Monitoring Trainee.

H is for Hills

Somerset has its fair share of species interesting hilly sites with stunning views with a number of reserves on the Blackdowns, Mendips, Poldens and Quantocks.

I is for Improving ID Skills

Whether this is getting involved in a survey with a specie you haven’t got to grips with yet or going on a course to learn more from national experts ­ it’s an invaluable skill for all Trainees.

Plums and Custard Fungi credit Luke Workman

J is for Job

It’s what all Trainees dream of. Every day of your traineeship brings you one step closer to gaining not just any job but a job where you can make a difference and use your new found skills and experience.

K is for Kitted Out

Working outside you need to be properly kitted out and the obligatory shopping trip is all included.

All kitted up credit Beth Aucott

L is for Laughter

Be under no illusions laughter is compulsory and a regular occurrence in all roles.

M is for Mentors

Each Trainee gets the invaluable experience of being paired with a dedicated member of staff who has experience in your dream job. All the mentors are amazing and always willing to help no matter how big or small the query. There are also all the other staff and volunteers at the Trust who support you as a Trainee and become almost unofficial mentors.

6 Month Review credit Claire Critchley

N is for Nurturing

This scheme is not only about new skills and qualifications but it nurtures your existing skillset and interests helping you reach your full potential.

O is for Opportunities

One of the best bits of being a Trainee. People are so willing to share their passion there are so many opportunities to get involved with so many different projects. The hardest bit is fitting them all in.


P is for People

Being a trainee is hard work but you soon realise the people you work alongside with are more then just colleagues they become good friends and it’s a very special part of this experience.

Q is for Qualifications

Be it in health and safety or hedge laying, and chainsaws or communicating with the media. Throughout the year you will have the opportunity to gain recognised qualifications which back up your experience.

R is for Residentials

Every four months all the trainees meet up in a county for core training. The days are cram packed and exhausting but they are always a highlight.

S is for Something Scary

“Do one thing a month that scares you” a mantra passed down onto all Somerset Trainees to ensure they make the most of this experience. This might include taking on extra responsibility or trying something new either way be prepared to push yourself.

T is for Trainees

Obviously! There are four of us in Somerset and twelve others across the other counties. 

All 16 Trainees credit Beth Aucott

U is for Understanding

You’ll expand your understanding of so many things but perhaps most useful is that of what the role entails on a day to day basis.

V is for Volunteers

Working with volunteers is a regular and very enjoyable feature in all our roles and our organisation simply wouldn’t be as successful without them.  

W is for Wildlife

Working for the Wildlife Trust you can’t help but be amazed and engaged with wildlife it really is everywhere in Somerset.

Kingfisher credit Chris Couldrey

X is for Xylogenous

Important definition for all Community and Volunteer Trainees for whom dealing with minibeasts will become a regular occurrence.

Y is for You

You could be one of the next Somerset Trainees so what’s stopping you applying?

Z is for Zzzz

After doing all that you’ll be guaranteed a good nights sleep!


SWT Trainees 2014 credit Claire Critchley
This could be you!

Being a Trainee really is an amazing experience. It is so much more then just a way to gain qualifications and experience, its an unforgettable adventure crammed packed with wildlife highlights, laughter and friends for life.  So if you were thinking about applying, our advice is to stop thinking and go for it. 

You can find out how to apply for the roles here.

Photo credit: Chainsaws, Kitted up, All Trainees - Beth Aucott, Forest School, Trainees and Mentors, SWT Trainees - Claire Critchley, Kingfisher - Chris Couldrey, Fungi - Luke Workman