Following the huge success of the Nature Skills Traineeship programme, Ulster Wildlife are currently applying for further funding from Heritage Lottery (HLF) to continue to run the traineeship for the next three years.

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has launched a new programme which, if we are successful in application, will allow us to continue to deliver a traineeship for those wishing to pursue a career in the conservation sector.

We hope to provide twenty-one paid training placements over the next three year period starting in March 2018.  

Throughout their action-packed year, participants can expect to receive a unique combination of skills and knowledge training, both marine and land-based, guaranteed on-the-job work experience, and a customised entry-level Lantra accredited course.  They will also have the opportunity to work in partnership with a number of other organisations, including the National Trust and Butterfly Conservation.

Many passionate and talented people want to pursue a career in nature conservation, but lack skills and experience that can only be gained in a work setting.

We want to attract people from all walks of life into the natural heritage sector previous qualifications are not required. A passion and enthusiasm for nature and the natural world and a commitment to learning new skills is most important.

This scheme will be open to those who are under 24, those from ethnic minority groups or those with a disability.  One year part-time traineeships, as well as full-time will also be available.

This innovative project aims to build on the success of the charity's existing Nature Skills Traineeship which is now in its final year.  During the last three years, over 700 applications were received for 18 full-time traineeships, with two-thirds of trainees gaining paid employment within the environment sector upon completion.

Dawn Miskelly, Operations Director from Ulster Wildlife said: "We're delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting this fantastic project.  This investment will enable us to offer more people, struggling to get their foot on the conservation ladder, paid training and high-quality work experience with experts, which will set them up for the best possible career in natural heritage.  This level of training provision is not currently available in Northern Ireland and will allow us to bridge the skills gap in the sector and reach out to a more diverse range of people wishing to embrace a future wild career."

No applications are open for this scheme at present.