Young people are ready to start work after 'Skills for Wildlife' training scheme

A ‘Skills for Wildlife’ trainee hedgelaying at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve.

The trainees were taken on as part of the Skills for Wildlife programme, which has been run across Yorkshire, Sheffield and Derbyshire Wildlife Trusts and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The programme enabled ten young people, aged between 16 and 25, to gain a work-based diploma in environmental conservation and on-the-job experience of countryside management.

Talking about the traineeship, student Elysha Priest said: “The traineeship has given us a unique opportunity to develop and enhance our skills and knowledge, providing us with the chance to gain new training and experiences which will hopefully allow us to progress in a career within the countryside sector. I think I can speak on behalf of the group when I say that we have all thoroughly enjoyed the traineeship and loved being able to be a part of such a pioneering organisation, especially having had the chance to visit extraordinary locations and seeing the fantastic wildlife they have to offer.”

Today, the students’ hard work was recognised by the Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, who visited them at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve in Doncaster, where they have been based during the year-long project. The students led her on a guided walk of the site during the afternoon and answered all her questions about the traineeship.

Lewis Wright, another student from the Skills for Wildlife scheme said about the event: “The celebration event was a great chance for us to show off the skills we have gained whilst with The Wildlife Trust.”

On-the-job work that the trainees have undertaken includes the construction of a pond dipping platform at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, training in the traditional art of hedgelaying and putting that into practice across various nature reserves in Yorkshire and Derbyshire, in addition to various other countryside management practices.

The Skills for Wildlife traineeship has been hosted by The Wildlife Trusts over the past three years and this is the third cohort of students to complete the programme, which will hopefully see more young people go into employment in the environment sector.

The traineeship has proven to be an excellent scheme for young people leaving school or higher education, providing them with opportunities to gain both practical experience and qualifications.

Visit the Skills for Wildlife website for more information about the traineeship. 

Notes to editors

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is a local charity working for a county rich in wildlife. We look after over 95 of Yorkshire’s best places for wildlife and encourage people to visit and get involved with their care. We stand up for Yorkshire’s wildlife wherever it is under threat, and work with others to find solutions that benefit both wildlife and people. We inspire thousands of children, families and others every year, reconnecting them with their local environment and wildlife. With the support of these people, we are restoring and recreating a Living Landscape in Yorkshire and raising awareness of, and fighting for, Yorkshire’s Living Sea.

Further information

For more details, please contact Joanna Richards at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on 01904 659 570, email:

Interviews can be arranged with Chris Bates or the students involved in the project.