Wildlife Trust launches trainee programme

Training the urban conservationists of the future.

The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust have launched year three of their traineeship programme Natural Prospects. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and in partnership with Birmingham City Council, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council and Wolverhampton City Council, the Natural Prospects traineeship programme is specifically designed to challenge the barriers that exclude some people from working in the environmental conservation sector.

Gareth Morgan Head of Education at The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust said, “The next generation of urban conservationists are out there, right now, in communities across Birmingham and the Black Country, waiting for the chance to begin their journey as future custodians of our wonderful wildlife. Our Natural Prospects programme provides them with the perfect first step on that path.”

Since the traineeship launched in 2018, thirteen individuals have completed their twelve-month work-based placements, gaining a City and Guilds Level 2 Work Based Certificate in Environmental Conservation alongside practical skills and experience to help them find meaningful work within the sector.

Applications are open for the 2021 intake, and five passionate and committed candidates will be selected for a practical placement either directly with the Wildlife Trust or at partner sites at Birmingham, Walsall or Wolverhampton Council along with a £9,000 bursary.

Eligible candidates must be aged 18 or over, based in Birmingham or the Black Country, and either be from a black or minority ethnic group, a non-graduate, in receipt of benefits or from an economically deprived area.

Jen Jones, Natural Prospects Coordinator at The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust said, “Our Natural Prospects traineeship programme is a huge success story. It encourages people from backgrounds not traditionally involved in conservation to become the urban conservationists of the future. The thirteen trainees who have completed their year with us can all be proud of their work, and we look forward to meeting the next five!”

Jack, who completed his Natural Prospects traineeship in summer 2019 and is now employed as a ranger at the Lickey Hills Country Park said, “I’ve done so many things I never thought I’d do; I’ve learned how to restore woodland, maintain heathland, sharpen a knife, carve wood and identify trees and other flora. It’s honestly been the best year of my life!”

Delia Garratt, Chief Executive at The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust commented, “We are very proud to be training the conservationists of the future who will play an important part in safeguarding the natural world long into the future. Trainees help us to achieve our vision for Birmingham and the Black Country to be rich in wildlife and enjoyed and protected by everyone.”

For more information on the Natural Prospects traineeship including details of upcoming taster days visit here.