First summit for our young green champions!

Sian is one of our Green Futures Environmental Trainees based at Cumbria Wildlife Trust. In this blog Sian tells us all about her experience at the very first Green Futures Youth Environment Summit this October.

The scheme mine and Isaac’s apprenticeship has come from is called Green Futures, a project run by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust as part of the Our Bright Future programme. Green Futures consists of four environmental youth orientated groups: Eco Schools, Young Rangers, Green Guardians and finally the Environmental Trainee Scheme that our apprenticeships come under.

This year, Green Futures, piloted their idea of a Youth Summit, through which all four branches of the Green Futures project could meet. The three day residential was held in the gorgeous setting of the field studies centre at Malham Tarn – a suitably inspiring backdrop for such an inspiring weekend!

Making bird boxes at the Green Futures Youth Environment Summit.

Sian & other young people from across the North West came together to explore environmental issues at the Green Futures Youth Environment Summit.

With an age range of 12 – 21, it would be easy to assume that activities to suit everybody were hard to come by, but as everyone had one very big shared passion no such problem occurred – in fact the weekend flew by with the amount of things we had to do! Activities included a trail around the grounds of Malham Tarn Field Studies Centre, a talk on using your own personal strengths to get involved in the environment from Grainne, who is on the national Our Bright Future steering group, making a bird box, and the ‘recycle Olympics’. On the Sunday we had a series of incredibly informative workshops on food waste, packaging waste, and water waste.

Everybody who attended was so open minded and uniquely knowledgeable, the weekend was a huge success. Having spoken to YDMT staff after they’d received the feedback forms, I learned that the only suggestion for improvement from attendees – including myself – was that the residential was longer… which is always a good sign!

Making bird boxes - one of the many activities in offer at the Youth Summit.

Making bird boxes – one of the many activities in offer at this years Youth Summit.

Green Futures

Our Green Futures project aims to empower and support the ambitious and capable young people of Yorkshire and Lancashire to become more involved, aware and connected to the fantastic natural environment that’s right on their doorstep. Find out more on our website

You can also find out about the Our Bright Future programme Green Futures is part of here.



The day we met George…

We had an exciting morning in the Dales today that I thought we’d share with you…

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind experience for Jo Boulter, our Dales Rural Trainees project co-ordinator, who received a call yesterday from our friends at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority wondering if we could pop over to Grassington to meet a senior government minister (unnamed for security reasons!) to chat about apprenticeships.

After a flurry of phone calls and emails, four of our Dales Rural Trainees were able to re-jig their diaries to be there to meet the mystery guest.

Everyone was very excited as press reporters, photographers and a film crew began to congregate alongside the Trainees in Grassington, together with local MP Julian Smith this morning in anticipation. At about 9am a rather posh car pulled up (apparently it was too foggy for a helicopter!), and out stepped Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.

Mr Osborne was keen to find out about the life-changing impact of the Dales Rural Trainee Scheme – a project co-ordinated by YDMT and made possible thanks to generous financial support from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Charles and Elsie Sykes Trust, The J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, Lord Swinton’s Charitable Trust, Yorkshire Agricultural Society and players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Our director David Sharrod joined Mr Osborne and Gary Smith, Director of Conservation & Community at Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Alan Hulme the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Head of Ranger Services, Mark Allenby owner of Stage 1 Cycles in Askrigg, and Trainees Arkardy and Suzannah for a nice Yorkshire cuppa.

George Osborne & David Sharrod

George Osborne & David Sharrod

They chatted about cycling and the legacy of the Tour de France Grand Départ, as well as the successful way that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, YDMT and local businesses are working together to deliver valuable apprenticeships for the good of the area.

Afterwards the Dales Rural Trainees gave Mr Osborne a crash course in the traditional craft of dry stone walling, and he got stuck in and gave them a hand repairing a section of damaged wall, saying that he found it quite therapeutic and that he’d like to spend longer mastering the skills, but unfortunately he had to hit the road.

Trainees dry stone walling with George Osborne

Trainees dry stone walling with George Osborne

The Trainees give Mr Osborne a crash course in dry stone walling

The Trainees give Mr Osborne a crash course in dry stone walling

Next on Mr Osborne’s tour … a visit to Nestlé where he was going to be helping to pack Easter eggs!

After all the excitement of the morning, the rest of the group retired to a nearby café where the Trainees enjoyed the opportunity to have an informal chat with Gary Smith, Alan Hulme and Julian Smith (three of the four Trainees live in his constituency) over a well-earned Full English Breakfast!


Dales Rural Trainees

Back in November 2013 we launched the Dales Rural Trainee Scheme, offering a group of young people aged 18-24 a life-changing opportunity: the chance to learn how to help look after the beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.

Now 12 months on, the apprentices are half way through the two year scheme and are gaining lots of brilliant experience working for a local business or organisation and learning new skills that will benefit them and the countryside.

The two-year programme combines hands-on work placements with a complementary Level 2 Diploma in either environmental conservation, forestry, horticulture, game keeping or butchery through part-time attendance at Craven College, Askham Bryan or Newton Rigg.

Here’s a quick look at the progress of one of the trainees – Arkady Bogg-Hargroves who took up an environmental conservation apprenticeship placement with Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA). He joined the scheme after completing a BTEC in joinery at Craven College in Skipton, and he hasn’t looked back.

“I finished the joinery course and then spent a long time trying to find a job,” the 20-year-old said. “Then my mum’s friend showed me an advert for the Trainee Scheme – she knew I wanted to work outside and do practical things.

“There were a lot of different apprenticeships but I took the National Park Authority one because it involved more woodworking. It has always appealed to me going out and making larger things like gates but I thought it was impossible to get that sort of work and I didn’t know how to go about it.

“Now I’m learning all sorts of things from using machinery like strimmers and chainsaws to footpath maintenance.

“I’ve always liked the outdoors but I never thought about doing environmental work – and I’m enjoying it loads.”

Arkady hard at work

Arkady hard at work

Arkady was invited to help supervise members of the Young Rangers group, which was formed by the YDNPA to encourage young people aged from 11 to 16 who have an interest in the outdoors by teaching them new skills.

“Originally it was a one off thing but I really liked it so I asked if I could do it every month,” he said. “It’s something else I never thought I would do or enjoy.

“Most of my friends work but they don’t enjoy it as much as I do. I feel very lucky to have got a place. It’s giving me so many skills and will potentially open so many doors for me for the future but, hopefully, when the scheme finishes, I will get a job with the National Park.”

Alan Hulme, the YDNPA’s Head of Ranger Services, said: “Opportunities for young people in the Yorkshire Dales can be limited, so it’s a real pleasure for the National Park Authority to be part of the new scheme. It brings a range of different employers together under one umbrella to provide real working experience and opportunities for our young people across the Dales and I can only see it going from strength to strength.”

The Dales Rural Trainee Scheme is made possible thanks to generous financial support from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Charles and Elsie Sykes Trust, The J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, Lord Swinton’s Charitable Trust, Yorkshire Agricultural Society and players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Rural trainees prepare for extreme conditions

This week our Dales Rural Trainees completed a special training and team-building event, specifically designed to help prepare them for some of the extreme outdoor situations that they may face when working in the Yorkshire Dales landscape.  I tagged along to see how they got on…

Through their hand-on apprenticeships with employers across the Yorkshire Dales, the trainees often spend much of their time working in remote locations and extreme conditions.

To help them cope with this unforgiving environment we commissioned a bespoke ‘Mountain Rescue Scenario’ training event to teach the 18-24 year olds some important skills including map reading and navigation, competent use of specialist outdoor equipment and basic first aid training, as well as team working, leadership, delegation and communication skills.

The Dales Rural Trainees 'rescue' YDMT's Jo Boulter!

The Dales Rural Trainees ‘rescue’ YDMT’s Jo Boulter!

This extraordinary training event was delivered free of charge by Stainforth-based Yorkshire Dales Guides, who are a partner in ‘Do it in the Dales’.

Dave Gallivan of Yorkshire Dales Guides said: “Collectively the instructors delivering today’s training have 99 years’ experience in mountain rescue. It’s brilliant to be able to pass on some of that experience to these young people who are working outdoors.”

The trainees brush up on their map reading skills

The trainees brush up on their map reading skills

The trainees themselves had a great time.  Sam Allsopp is an apprentice with Conservefor, the rural contractors and consultants based in Rathmell near Settle.  When I asked him about the day he said: “It was a very useful and exciting training event, teaching us lots of different skills such as first aid. It was also fun to meet the other trainees that are taking part in the project and to hear about their roles.”

Jo Boulter, Dales Rural Trainee Scheme project officer here at YDMT, added: “This exciting training event was very effective, providing the trainees with the necessary skills and confidence to cope with working in the demanding terrain and unpredictable weather of the Yorkshire Dales. We’re very grateful to Yorkshire Dales Guides for so kindly supporting this project by donating their time and providing such high quality training.”

The trainees 'rescue' YDMT's Jo Boulter from a 'dangerous accident' by the riverside!

The trainees ‘rescue’ YDMT’s Jo Boulter from a ‘dangerous accident’ by the riverside!

And what did I think? …Well it’s fair to say that this is certainly the most exciting and memorable training event I’ve ever been involved in, providing a unique ‘break-out’ day for our team of apprentices.  If your business is looking for an engaging and effective team-building activity I can highly recommend this as a great alternative to the, often lacklustre, hotel-based training events you might have experienced in the past!

The Dales Rural Trainee Scheme is providing 10 young people with potentially life-changing opportunities to gain the qualifications, experience and rural skills needed to manage the Yorkshire Dales landscape sensitively and sustainably. This project has been made possible thanks to generous financial support from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Charles and Elsie Sykes Trust, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, Lord Swinton’s Charitable Trust, Yorkshire Agricultural Society and players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We’d like to say a huge thank you for all this vital support.

Thanks also to Steve Finch Photography for kindly supplying all the lovely photographs featured above.

By Sarah Brewer, Marketing & Fundraising Officer at YDMT.

A Day In The Life…. of a Dales Countryside Trainee

One of YDMT’s most innovative and life-changing projects is the Dales Countryside Trainee scheme.

In the Dales it’s becoming increasing difficult to find people with skills necessary for the long term care of our upland environment. Combined with this we’re seeing a dramatic loss of 16-24 year olds as rural communities try to adapt to rapidly changing economics.

So in June 2010 YDMT launched the Dales Countryside Trainee scheme to help meet the urgent needs of young people and to bridge the gap in local skills and knowledge.

In summer 2010 twelve young people started on a programme of vocational training in environmental and countryside management across the Dales. Over the next two years they will gain valuable experience in a 22 month placement with a local employer, learning from skilled practitioners. They will also study for a Level 2 Qualification in Environmental Conservation at Craven College.

One of our trainees is Becky Burton who is carrying out her work placement at the National Trust site Fountains Abbey; a huge estate comprising of the abbey ruins, and 800 acres of natural countryside near Ripon.  She has kindly taken a few minutes out of her day to tell us a bit about what she’s been up to…

October marks a change of the seasons at Fountains Abbey – the deer park is a perfect example.  During the summer I was busy helping with the chain harrowing in the deer park – an important task to renovate the pasture and stimulate new growth.  I learnt how to drive the tractor and also had a go with the chain harrows, which seemed enormous!!

Chain Harrowing

Chain Harrowing

Now, as summer draws to a close, I’m involved with the autumn and winter tasks.  From October through ’til April we feed the 550 deer in the park a mixture of extra carrots, fodderbeet and hay bales to keep them going.  This often involves shovelling 2-4 tons out of the trailer per day in the snow, rain and wind!  It’s a job I helped with last winter – just after Christmas the public were invited to watch the feeding of the deer (an event known as ‘on the hoof’), where the deer warden would give a talk and answer any questions whilst a team of volunteers and I fed the deer.  By April, the grass should have started to grow and the feeding will be over for the year.

Feeding deer with fodderbeat and hay

Feeding deer with fodderbeat and hay

A little while ago John Horrigan (the Deer warden) and I were invited to attend a wardens meeting at Hadriens Wall, at the National Trust property there known as ‘Housesteads’.  The property includes 6 miles of wall and a Roman Fort.  The morning was spent listening to a variety of presentations, ranging from one on the new consultancy in the National Trust and one to wildlife seen in the area at National Trust properties.  In the afternoon we were split into groups and set a challenge; we had make a fire out in the open using materials we’d collected from across the estate.  We were given some corn to make into popcorn and some wheat and water to grind down and make bread. We then cleared the site so that no one could tell we had been there and headed home!

Wardens Meeting

Wardens Meeting

Find out more about the Dales Countryside Trainees scheme here.