Wild Paths Training Programme New training scheme to help combat skills shortage A new training programme ‘Wild Paths’ has been awarded £501,100 of National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), under its Skills for the Future programme, allowing five Wildlife Trusts in the South West to train 30 aspiring conservationists over the next three years. The scheme is designed to address the skills shortages within the South West conservation sector and will appoint 10 trainees a year for three years based at Avon Wildlife Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Each will focus on practical conservation, working with volunteers, and engaging people and communities with their natural heritage. As well as gaining formal qualifications, the trainees will receive complimentary training in transferable skills to enhance their future employability and consolidate their learning by working with Wildlife Trust staff. ‘Wild Paths’ Coordinator, Dr Rachel Janes, said: “This new scheme will give those interested in wildlife a real insight into working in conservation, from learning about communications in the media to gaining their chainsaw qualifications. After they have completed their 9-month long placement, trainees will have the skills and confidence to take their careers forward in the workplace. The wildlife trusts involved are delighted to be part of this programme, and are grateful to National Lottery players, who have helped make it happen.” Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we’re pleased to support this project which will provide fantastic opportunities for trainees to develop skills, enable some much-loved heritage sites to bring in new ideas and perspectives and create a lasting and successful impact for the future heritage and conservation sector workforce” The Wildlife Trusts are keen to reflect the diversity of the British Community within our workforce and applications from people from disadvantaged backgrounds or under-represented groups, for example, people with disabilities, from the LGBT community or from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are particularly welcome. More information about the scheme and how to apply for the 10 placements available starting in September 2018 can be found on the Wild Paths project pages at www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/WildPaths.