Wildlife Skills Trainee Scheme
Wildlife Skills is a scheme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in conjunction with Somerset, Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts to each provide four Trainees of any age or background, the opportunity to gain paid full time, real world experience and specialist training for a year. Ensuring the next generation of environmental decision makers are well equipped for the challenges of the future. Read More.
Meet the trainees:
Practical Conservation Trainee
Based at Bradford on Tone, near Taunton.
To get to know Ralph, click here.
Practical Conservation Trainee
Based at Chancellor's Farm, near Cheddar.
To get to know Leighann, click here.
Volunteer and Community Engagement Trainee
Based at Callow Rock offices.
To get to know Abi, click here.
Survey and Monitoring Trainee
Based at Taunton HQ.
To get to know Becky, click here.
Chris Couldrey - 2014 Survey and Monitoring Trainee
Although Chris began his traineeship last year, the surveying position is 18 months long and so it will not be completed until December. So he will spend the following months putting all the skills he has learnt throughout the first year in practice during the busy survey season.
To get to know Chris, click here.
Last year's trainees:
The first year of trainees have now completed their traineeships and have flown the nest!
Read below for some handy fact files about each of them, and to see what they are up to now.
Beth Aucott - Practical Conservation Trainee
"I am currently an Assistant Ranger for the National Trust working on Studland Beach, Dorset. It's a seasonal role, so only for the summer, but I am gaining new experiences and rounding out my CV. I will be getting stuck back into the practical conservation work and utilising the skills I learnt as a trainee come September when I will be moving to be an Assistant Ranger on Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire. The team there are working on some exciting chalk grassland restoration work, which I can't wait to get involved with. The site also offers some stunning views of the surrounding countryside, though obviously not quite as good as those from on Mendip!"
Claire Critchley - Volunteer and Community Engagement Trainee
"I am now working for the RSPB as a Learning and Visitor Experience Officer. It is the perfect job for me. I teach school and youth groups on a daily basis and run events and the visitor centre when I am not out teaching. In the long term I want to stay where I am because have high hopes and big plans for the Ribble Discovery Centre some of which may take a couple of years and funding bids to bring to fruition. Undoubtedly I could not do my current job without all the skills and experience I gained in my Traineeship. The lasting legacy for me though is the friendships I have made and it is something that continues to help in my current role."
Olivia Dullaghan - Practical Conservation Trainee
"I have just finished up with the Trust after what has been a fantastic year full of learning and laughter. I have gained a huge amount including practical experience, qualifications, I.D skills and a much better understanding of landscape scale conservation. I have made some fantastic new friends who really made this experience what it was. The staff and volunteers I have worked with have been inspiring with their passion for nature and dedication to conservation. Moving forward I am hoping to work in a ranger role and feel very positive about my future career in conservation."
Here they all are talking about the highlights of the year:
It's been a busy month for us all, as we get used to our new roles and continue to learn and experience lots of new things and visit new places. There has been lots of suveys, practical work, training and summery public events going on in August, so read on to see what we have been getting up to...
So as you may know, the first year of trainees have now flown the nest and gone on to do lots of new and exciting things, things that wouldn’t have been possible without the traineeship.
Now we’ve been handed the baton and it’s our turn to start this new adventure in Somerset.
Our first month has flown by! This is what we’ve all been up to…
As the traineeship draws to an end for most of us it’s a time to reflect on everything we have gained from the experience over the last year. We had a chance to meet the trainees from the other counties at a presentation event to celebrate the year’s achievements and to thank HLF for making it all possible. Many of the trainees have managed to get new jobs with various organisations and our conservation futures are looking bright.
May has been a fantastic month for wildlife spotting with the trainees attending a reptile training day down in Dorset and seeing smooth snakes and sand lizards for the first time. The reserves are alive with wild flowers and butterflies and it’s fantastic to be out working in the beautiful Somerset countryside.