We’ve been lucky to have two extra pairs of hands helping us with various conservation tasks on the bog the past few weeks! Read our last blog to find out about Callander’s Landscape modern apprenticeship scheme and hear about Lisa’s experience working for the partnership. This time we hear from Niall about his experience of the apprenticeship so far and how he’s enjoyed trundling about on Flanders Moss NNR (again)!
Before I began my modern apprenticeship, I studied Countryside Management at SRUC Oatridge College. I had just finished my last year at Oatridge and was working a supermarket job at the time, so the apprenticeship coming up was excellent timing and a great opportunity for my first employment in the conservation industry. I was feeling a little burned out after 3 years at college, so getting the chance to work for a great team like Callander’s Landscape was really ideal. The opportunities that come with the role, like being able to work with organisations such as Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Forestry and Land Scotland and the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Rangers, are really highlights of my time spent at work.
I’ve managed to get up to quite a lot in the 4 months I’ve been an apprentice, starting out with archaeological digs around Callander which I’d never had the opportunity to do before. I’ve managed to boost other skills like wildlife ID, especially with the WeBS counts we’ve been carrying out with the rangers recently.
The apprenticeship has exceeded my expectations as I’ve got to meet some really lovely and knowledgeable people, along with doing the kind of conservation work I love. Many people come from different backgrounds so you can gain a unique perspective by talking to all of them about their experiences, especially those who have worked in the same site or area for many years. Everyone is always open to help and willing to teach you new things which creates a supportive work environment that I’ve not experienced anywhere else.
My time spent working with SNH I have really enjoyed in particular. Having worked and researched on Flanders Moss during my time in school and college, I was familiar with the site and its significance as an area of conservation value. Getting the chance to work on it again was great; we learned about the conservation value of coppicing and carried out invasive species removal from the bog. I had never got the chance to clear western hemlock before and didn’t realise how easily it spread, so this was a new skill learned.
I’m back at Flanders Moss next week for my last day with SNH (hopefully just for the time being) as part of the apprenticeship, so I’m looking forward to that again.
It’s been great having Lisa and Niall out with us and the volunteers every week and we wish them all the best in the rest of their apprenticeship!