Learning The Countryside Way

Through the Watershed Landscape Project, The National Trust and Oldham Council hosted apprentices who worked towards countryside management qualifications.

The South Pennines landscape provides a fantastic resource for learning and our first two apprentices really got stuck in! From practical moorland conservation work using chainsaws, brushcutters, and learning to tow trailers, to helping with community events, guiding walks and managing volunteers, apprentices Jennie Lancashire and Alyssa Young have tried their hands at all sorts since starting the course and have experienced all elements of the South Pennines weather!

Jennie and Alyssa both described the experience as a great opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge through practical work and on the job training.

Before the course, Jennie was working as a Visitor Services Assistant for Oldham Countryside Service, helping to engage visitors and school groups with the South Pennine landscape and on her family dairy farm where she still rears her own pigs. The course has enabled her to get out into the landscape she loves and learn more practical skills to help care for the moorland habitat: 'The best bit by far has been working with chainsaws, which I find really satisfying - tidying up fallen trees and cross cutting logs. I’m looking forward to being trained to fell trees soon - watch out!'

Alyssa, who graduated from Durham University with a Natural Sciences degree, hoped that the apprenticeship will build on her degree and a year of voluntary work she has completed with the Forestry Commission and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust: 'Having the opportunity to undertake training courses has really allowed me to develop my skill base, and learn things that I would never have been able to otherwise such as using a brushcutter and chainsaw! This will hopefully improve my chances of getting a job in this sector in the future.'