Over the past few weeks Callander’s Landscape modern apprentices have been joining us on our weekly volunteer day. Lisa and Niall are working towards a Rural Skills Modern Apprenticeship and Level 2 Award in Cultural Heritage. Much like my student placement with SNH, their paid apprenticeships provide them with “on-the-job” training in both natural and cultural heritage, including formal accreditation. The apprenticeships are part of Callander’s Landscapes heritage skills project which aims to engage and support Callander’s young people through training and apprenticeship opportunities. They have been taking part in our weekly work parties at Flanders Moss NNR to gain practical conservation skills and learn more about habitat management. Lisa and Niall started their apprenticeships in September last year, both coming to the job from very different backgrounds. We asked them to share their experiences as modern apprentices so far and what they think of Flanders Moss!
Before I started working for Callander Landscape Partnership, I was working predominantly in Outdoor Education after some years working as a social care worker. I worked in various schools providing activities such as bushcraft, climbing and paddlesports. I also ran a Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme for a local high school. I applied for the apprenticeship as I found myself leaning more and more towards the environmental aspect to outdoor education and became very interested in land management. I had used the landscapes across Scotland for various expeditions and activities but now I fancied learning more about how to look after the countryside, as I think both elements are important to live a sustainable and more conscious life in the outdoors.
I have really been enjoying my time as the work is so varied. We are able to learn on the job, meet new people and work with different organisations. The apprenticeship is run through SRUC Oatridge and so we receive lots of support from there as well as Callander Youth Project and the team at Callander’s Landscape, who we spend most of our time with. There’s never been a boring day on the job yet!
As our apprenticeship covers both cultural heritage and environmental conservation, we certainly get up to a lot! We have found ourselves on archaeological digs, bird and bat surveying and lots of land conservation. The work we do varies monthly however we are usually guaranteed to be assisting with volunteer days in Callander carrying out some work on the local landscape. The role has lived up to my expectations as we are able to learn as we go. There is rarely a classroom day which is great as we both love being outdoors. We are able to meet people from varied backgrounds and work with those from conservation/heritage related organisations too, which is a brilliant asset.
It has been great working with various partner organisations as we are able to gain valuable insight into the real working lives of people in these roles and what is involved in their daily activities. This is really helpful as it can inform the career path we wish to take or the roles we are thinking about going into. Everyone has been really keen to give us as much information and experience as possible and I couldn’t be more grateful. I have really enjoyed working with SNH at Flanders Moss as it has given me the opportunity to work in a unique habitat, one which I initially didn’t think I would enjoy when it came to trapesing through deep bog but actually the more Steve and the others teach us the more I find myself looking forward to the next week. I now really enjoy working on Flanders Moss and becoming more and more aware of the various moss, plant and wildlife species that grow, survive and thrive in this environment has given me a new respect for the area and I can quite happily say I’d be up for a bog day any day!
Hear about Niall’s experience of the apprenticeship in the next blog!