Apprentices Given Invaluable Experience

Charles Bailie started his new role as a Countryside Officer in Cheshire and is undertaking a Masters in Conservation Biology at Manchester Metropolitan University, thanks to the experience he gained through the apprenticeship with his host organisation, Oldham Council, and sponsor, Pennine Prospects.

'It was a bit of a risk taking the apprenticeship' admitted Charles, who took a drop in salary to enter the scheme from his former employment in business. 'Getting this job and being able to start the masters degree has justified my decision. The practical land management experience I have gained has been invaluable, especially having my own site at Moorgate Quarry to look after. It’s worked out really well and professionally I couldn’t have asked for more. 

Every day was different and it was a great opportunity to learn; the educational courses, opportunities to gain skills in management and planning all helped build up my knowledge' added Charles, who also praised the Watershed Landscape Project team for their support and enthusiasm.

Charles was on one of four apprenticeships administered by rural regeneration company Pennine Prospects as part of the Watershed Landscape Project.

Katie Quantrell was a trainee ranger through host organisation The National Trust at the Marsden Moor Estate. She finished her apprenticeship in September 2013 and is looking at staying in the sector.

During her time in Marsden Katie gained experience in so many skills that it is difficult to name them all! Among the practical elements of the apprenticeship she received training in chainsaw cross-cutting techniques, dry stone walling, vegetation identification, small mammal surveying, and fencing and path improvements. The training received by the apprentices went towards their Level Two Diploma in work-based Environmental Conservation.

'I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done here, but it’s working with all the different volunteer groups that I’ve enjoyed the most. Being able to learn from them and pass on some of my own experience has been really great. The role has definitely helped me to build my confidence in working with volunteer groups especially in relation to leading on practical tasks across the estate.

It’s such a lovely place to work and the small team here has been so supportive. These apprenticeships have given all four of us such valuable experience, and will hopefully ensure all of us have successful careers in the future.” Katie Quantrell.

Jennie Lancashire and Alyssa Young, the first apprentices under the Watershed Landscape Project, both gained employment in their chosen fields. See our news story 'Learning the Coutryside Way'.