A new training programme will see 30 aspiring conservationists be trained by five Wildlife Trusts in the south west.

The scheme is designed to address the skills shortages within the south west conservation sector and will focus on practical conservation, working with volunteers, and engaging people and communities with their natural heritage.

Avon Wildlife Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust will appoint 10 trainees a year for three years.

As well as gaining formal qualifications, the trainees will receive complementary training in transferable skills to enhance their future employability and consolidate their learning by working with Wildlife Trust staff.

The programme ‘Wild Paths’ has been awarded £501,100 of National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), under its Skills for the Future programme.

‘Wild Paths’ coordinator, Dr Rachel Janes, said: “This new scheme will give those interested in wildlife a real insight into working in conservation, from learning about communications in the media, to gaining their chainsaw qualifications. After they have completed their 9-month long placement, trainees will have the skills and confidence to take their careers forward in the work place. 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.”

More information about the scheme and how to apply for the 10 placements available starting in September 2018 can be found on the Wild Paths project pages at dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.