Halfway there: Cumbria Wildlife Apprentices reflect on first year

TWO YOUNG wildlife enthusiasts have enjoyed a ‘diverse’ year in their apprenticeship roles with Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Apprentice Conservation Officers Siân Bentley and Isaac Johnston are now halfway through their two-year apprenticeships. Siân, 20, said that it’s been an ‘incredible year’. “I wouldn’t have thought that at my age I’d be running events which were […]

TWO YOUNG wildlife enthusiasts have enjoyed a ‘diverse’ year in their apprenticeship roles with Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Apprentice Conservation Officers Siân Bentley and Isaac Johnston are now halfway through their two-year apprenticeships.

Siân, 20, said that it’s been an ‘incredible year’.

“I wouldn’t have thought that at my age I’d be running events which were attended by hundreds of people, but I did that at Beached Art in St Bees back in July,” she said. “I’ve also been interviewed on the radio about the dangers of beach litter and done a TV feature about natural flood management, and am really enjoying engaging with MPs about the EU Withdrawal Bill.”

Siân plans to study environmental economics, policy and sustainable development and Isaac plans to work in land management and conservation.

Isaac said he always knew that university was not for him but he did not want to do a narrow apprenticeship, learning just a few skills.

“This is the most diverse education you could get,” he said. “Among the many practical skills I’ve gained are using a brush-cutter – a sort of heavy-duty strimmer – to clear undergrowth in the woods on our nature reserves.

“This allows the sun to reach the wildflowers on the ground, which in turn helps populations of rare butterflies such as the Scotch argus. I’ve done this with incredibly hard-working volunteers from all walks of life, great for building my team-work skills!”

The apprenticeships were made possible by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) Green Futures programme.

Jo Boulter, Dales & Fells Trainer Scheme Coordinator at YDMT said: “Siân and Isaac seem to be relishing every opportunity to learn new skills and gain practical experiences through their apprenticeships at Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

“This fantastic work-based learning, combined with their college studies and a range of certified training courses, should mean that they are well placed to follow their dreams and lead successful careers in conservation, land management and the environmental sector.

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