Case Study – R Callow

My name is Richard Callow, I am 39 years old and I’m from Trowbridge in Wiltshire. My current role of employment is as the Administration Apprentice for the Wild Connections project at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust head office in Devizes.

About the Project

Wild Connections is an exciting three year project backed by the by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the aims of the project are to enable people of all ages from a variety of different backgrounds to enjoy, connect with, learn about and care for their local nature and natural heritage, alongside Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves.

At the beginning of the project, we were entrusted with improving the awareness and accessibility of 15 of our nature reserves, which we have been carrying out alongside our dedicated volunteers. This has involved pathway upgrades, installing kissing gates, bridges and boardwalk, benches, interpretation and notice boards, along with a number of other mini projects. We have regular target groups for which we provide support and for many of the participant’s involved opportunities to enjoy our reserves are limited, these include Help 4 Heroes, Alzheimer’s support groups and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Our Help 4 Heroes and support groups can enjoy a range of activity days with us on our reserves and we also provide a number of family days and engagement events for the general public.

The project has provided many of our volunteers and staff with training in various different courses, such as Brushcutter and Strimmer, Chainsaw Maintenance and Crosscutting, Tree Felling and processing, helping us to keep our reserves in top condition. As well as courses on Remote First Aid, Pesticides, ATV and trailer training. We have held a number of monitoring and surveying courses to help us determine the numbers of different species found on our reserves and train others with the ability to survey habitats themselves.

My Role

My Role as the Administrator is to take the bookings for activities and events, organise all of the training courses, as well as all of the general administration for the project. I also am involved in drawing up the quarterly HLF report and I have helped out with the writing on the interpretation boards for our reserves. When needed, I have the opportunity to help deliver our events and activities with the rest of the Wild Connections team.

My Apprenticeship

My apprenticeship is a Business Administration Level 2. I applied for the apprenticeship as I was advised of a career change from manual work after multiple operations on my joints, which then continued to cause problems thereafter. I had no experience in an office role at the time and because of this, I was having no luck finding employment within this sector. I applied for several Business Administration apprenticeships with no success due to there being no government funding for persons over 24, however, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust felt that I was the right candidate for the position and were happy to pay for my funding.

My apprenticeship involves a combination or work and study, with four days of the week work based and one day of study when required. I have also achieved functional skills passes in English and Maths along with an ITC qualification. By the end of the apprenticeship, I will have a Business Administration Level 2 qualification but I feel that more importantly, I have a whole host of new skills and experience that will provide me in good stead for the future.

The Future

After the apprenticeship comes to an end I would like to continue either within my role or working at the Wildlife Trusts. However, sadly the Wild Connections project is now almost finished, so unless another suitable role comes along it looks like I will be moving on. If this is to be the case, then I look forward to using the skills I have gained through the apprenticeship at the Trust in my next role. Wherever and whatever that may be, I will always be extremely grateful to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust for giving me the opportunity to work on such an inspiring project that has helped so many and achieved so much during its time.