Jade: Apprenticeships Bring Opportunity

May 9, 2019

Inspiring the next generation is a key part of what we do at Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and our rural apprenticeship scheme continues to be a very successful way of doing so.

Our apprenticeships aim to engage young people to care about their local landscape and give them the skills to look after it in future. We’re proud to say that more than 85% of apprentices have gone on to full time employment or further education.

Jade is one of the apprentices on the programme and here she tells us what she’s been up to so far…

“I started my YDMT apprenticeship as a conservation officer working with Cumbria Wildlife Trust (CWT) at the start of September last year. My past nine months have been filled with so many things and experiences, from national conferences to seal surveys and film-making courses. My role here as an apprentice is so diverse and I have so many opportunities available to me!

This year, we have had seven Grey Seal pups at our nature reserve at South Walney. I’m in charge of keeping up to date surveys of them and that involves going over to the site around once a fortnight to do an ‘on the ground’ survey lasting an hour.

We count how many there are and observe their behaviours in ten minute increments, which then gets recorded on our systems to compare year on year.

We also pair this with drone surveys to get a more accurate number. I think this has been one of my highlights so far, being able to get outside, monitor behaviours and start to understand all the impacts which could affect colonies on a local and larger scale.

We are also in Red Squirrel surveying season and that means I’m out and about a few days a week for the next few months setting up trail cameras as well as other equipment to monitor red squirrel presence around Cumbria.

With the Government bringing forward the first Environment Bill in 20 years I’ve also been really busy working with other members of the Trust in engaging MPs, our local communities and schools.

I’ve also been able to undertake some practical work from tree planting and cutting to sign maintenance and tree pulling. A big part of what I want to get out of this apprenticeship is practical conservation experience, so I can’t wait to get outside and do some more work over the next 18 months.

So far I’ve had the most amazing time and I’m sure the rest of my two years will be equally busy and exciting! I’m looking forward to learning even more, meeting more people and gaining so much more experience.”

Jade was also featured on BBC Bitesize recently and you can see that video here.

The rural apprenticeship scheme forms part of Green Futures – one of 31 Our Bright Future projects across the UK. Each one is equipping 11-24 year olds to make a difference in their local community and for the environment.

Your donations could help us expand our work to benefit more young people like Jade. You can give online at www.ydmt.org/donate or call us on 015242 51002.