Wild Paths Trainee Scheme

Wild Paths Trainee Scheme

Olivia laughs as she helps carry out reserve management work - Matt Sweeting

What is the Wild Paths Trainee Scheme?

Recruitment is now closed for the final traineeship cohort of placements. Thank you for your interest. 

The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) Skills for the Future (SFF) Programme has provided millions of pounds of funding to organisations that provide work-based training placements to meet a skills shortage in the heritage sector and help diversify the workforce.

This year the programme sees Avon, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire Trusts teaming up to give people the chance to apply for ten-month long training placements in practical conservation and engagement skills. The partnership will offer people from diverse backgrounds a chance to access entry into a career in the natural heritage sector, by offering a comprehensive work-based training plan and a bursary of £1000 per month, to pay for rent, bills, food etc whilst they are in training. Wild Paths was launched in 2018 and aims to deliver 30 placements across three years.

Who is it for?

The Wild Paths Training Programme is designed to enable participants to gain a broad range of hands-on experience that will give them the skills and confidence to make a valuable contribution to the conservation of the natural heritage, and to communicate with, inspire and enthuse others about our natural heritage.  It is ideal for someone who is looking for a career working outdoors with wildlife and people, but candidates do not need to have any prior formal training in this sector.  Candidates will however, need to demonstrate a genuine desire to work in natural heritage conservation.  Candidate need to be over 18, but there is no upper age limit.   All traineeships involve considerable manual work at times, often in difficult weather conditions on sites that are not easily accessible.  An enthusiasm for getting stuck in, learning from the mentors and having a never give up attitude are definite requirements for these roles!

This scheme is now OPEN to new applicants for placements starting in September 2021.  

The Wildlife Trusts are keen to reflect the diversity of the British community within our workforce and applications from under-represented groups, for example people from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background or people with disabilities are particularly welcome to apply.  We also use an anonymous sifting process to remove as much unconscious bias as possible.   

Download more information on how to apply for a training placement below

Information for candidates

The Wild Paths Training Programme is designed to enable participants to gain a broad range of hands-on experience that will give them the skills and confidence to make a valuable contribution to the conservation of the natural heritage, and to communicate with, inspire and enthuse others about our natural heritage.  It is ideal for someone who is looking for a career working outdoors with wildlife and people, but candidates do not need to have any prior formal training in this sector.  Candidates will however need to demonstrate a genuine desire to work in natural heritage conservation.

Click on the name of the Trust to learn more about them: AvonDorsetDevonSomerset and Wiltshire.

What placements are there on offer?

There are Practical and Engagement placements on offer across the South West;  Dorset (one in west Dorset and one in east Dorset), Somerset (one near Taunton and one at Cheddar), Wiltshire (one near Oaksey and one near Salisbury), Devon (two placements) and Avon (two placements)

Candidates are invited to apply via a single process for up to a maximum of two placements, (we will ask for priorities).  Details of each placement can be found by clicking the links below.

All placements start on 1st September and last for 10 months, with an expectation that trainees attend an average 32 hours training time per week.  Trainees will receive a bursary of £1000 per month, to pay for rent, bills, food etc whilst they are in training.

How do I apply?

It is recommended that candidates carefully read the notes below, and the individual placement descriptions, before completing our straightforward two-step application process as follows:

Step 1: Download and fill in our simple application form and/or if you are feeling more adventurous or just hate forms, send us your application in a different format that you feel best reflects you and your motivation for applying. It could be a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation, a link to a webpage, a YouTube video (or similar) or whatever other means you wish - it must however tell us a bit about yourself, why you want to work in the conservation sector and what barriers are currently preventing you from achieving this. 

Step 2: We also need EVERYONE to fill in our short information form so that we have all your contact details, know which placement(s) you want to apply for and some additional background data about you to help us monitor the efficacy of our recruitment process. 

Then just send the information form AND either the application form or alternative info to recruitment@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk or by post to Colleen Smith-Moore, Wild Paths Project Co-ordinator c/o Dorset Wildlife Trust, Brooklands Farm, Forston, DT2 7AA.  Your submission will be acknowledged  by reply email.

If you have any questions about the scheme prior to applying or any difficulty with opening the forms, either email Colleen at csmith-moore@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk  or give her a call on 01305 264620. 

Find out what a day in the life of a trainee is like and more information

Please complete and send in this Candidate information form 2021

Please complete and send in the Wild Paths Application form 2021

More information and contact details

The Wild Paths programme is coordinated by Dorset Wildlife Trust and applications must be submitted through them. 

For further information on Wild Paths training programmes, please contact the Wild Paths Project Co-ordinator Colleen Smith-Moore on 01305 264620 or email csmith-moore@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk Twitter: @Wild_Paths

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