Applications are now closed for 2018/19 

If you have submitted an expression of interest for the 2018/19 programme and you don’t hear from us about the next stage of applications by 1st June 2018 then please assume that you have been unsuccessful.  

Traineeships will be offered again in 2019 and 2020 - exact dates to be confirmed. 


This page will be updated over time with information on our available traineeships and updates on what our current and past trainees are getting up to.

Trees for Life are soon to launch our ‘Skills for Rewilding’ programme which will provide 15 individuals with fully funded training opportunities. We will take on 5 trainees per year for 3 consecutive years starting from Spring 2018. Trainees will learn and develop the skills needed to work on landscape scale ecological restoration. 

Trainees will learn skills including: nursery and horticultural skills related to growing native trees from seed, landscape and deer management, ecological monitoring and engaging rural communities in conservation work. Training will be accredited by the University of the Highlands and Islands.

This project was made possible with Skills for the Future funding provided by the Heritage Lottery - Skills for the Future programme which helps organisations deliver paid training placements to meet skills shortages in the heritage sector and to help diversify the workforce. More information about Skills for the Future grant funding can be found here


5 trainees will be recruited each year to the programme, with recruitment focusing on:

·         Removing barriers for women who favour roles which historically have a gender imbalance towards men

·         Supporting individuals who hope to make a career change later in life

·         Younger, local people who have a less educational background


These groups have been chosen because they are poorly represented in the nature conservation workforce at the moment.

The training will be mostly based at Dundreggan Conservation Estate but we also hope to partner with organisations like Forestry Commission, RSPB and Scottish National Heritage to give the trainees the opportunity to learn about how other organisations contribute to woodland conservation work.

Questions & Answers about Trees for Life’s (TfL) ‘Skills for rewilding’ traineeships:

Below is more information about our traineeships.  Please be aware that some of the finer details are yet to be finalised so some things may change slightly.  None the less we’re confident that the information below will give you a good guide to how we plan to run our traineeships.


What’s the aim of the traineeship?

To develop the knowledge, skills and experience to work on landscape scale ecological restoration projects to ‘rewild’ parts of the Scottish Highlands.  This includes using newer nature conservation techniques and more traditional rural estate skills, such as forestry and deer stalking, in conjunction with each other to achieve ‘rewilding’.


What is ‘rewilding’?

‘Rewilding’ is about returning ecosystems to a healthy state, a state that is in balance so the ecosystem is self-sustaining, without the need for ongoing management by humans.


What is the format of the traineeship?

This is NOT a taught, academic, classroom based traineeship.  It is a work experience based ‘learning by doing’ traineeship where trainees will shadow and work with TfL staff assisting them with their day to day tasks on ‘rewilding’ at TfLs Dundreggan Conservation Estate.  

Trainees will also get the opportunity to go on short placements with other organisations (such as Forestry Commission or Scottish Natural Heritage) that are involved with woodland restoration and land management for nature conservation. These placements are intended to allow trainees to see how other organisations operate, the types of work going on across the sector, and to create links that might help them with their future careers.  


Where is the Dundreggan Conservation Estate?

Dundreggan is in Glen Moriston, on the A887 between Invermoriston and Loch Cluaine.

Be aware that Dundreggan is a remote location, with poor mobile phone and internet reception.  The nearest local centres (i.e. providing shop, pub, activities etc.) are at least a ½ hours’ drive away.


What would trainees be doing day to day on the traineeship?

The tasks at Dundreggan are mostly active, outdoors and subject to seasonal variation.  Trainees need to be prepared to get their hands dirty, work in all weathers, and deal with the midges!  


Trainees might be…

  • Helping to grow on young trees from seed or root cuttings in the tree nursery
  • Getting involved in landscape assessments, woodland grant applications and planting plans
  • Assisting the Deer stalker to manage deer populations (i.e. stalking, shooting, carcass handling)
  • Working with volunteers to plant trees at ‘rewilding’ project sites
  • Contributing to community engagement work to promote TfLs work
  • Out on short placement with other organisations involved with ecological restoration work


Trainees would get the opportunity to try all these things, and others, but over the training year trainees will concentrate on one of the four specific skills areas available, either:

  • Tree nursery work
  • Deer and estate management work
  • People and community engagement work
  • Forestry and Landscape planning work


Is there a qualification for completing the traineeship?

Yes, if the qualification is appropriate for them, we expect* to be able to offer trainees the chance to complete an SVQ Level 2 in either Horticulture or Trees & Timber, or a National Certificate in Gamekeeping, all via University of Highlands & Islands (UHI) or a Scottish Apprentice Ranger Certificate via the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association (SCRA) depending on which skills area they concentrate on.  These are all vocational work based qualifications that are transferrable to future careers.

*links to qualifications, and particular courses, are currently being finalised and may change slightly

How long is the traineeship for?

One year (with 7 weeks’ holiday allowance) starting in June each year.  TfL will run traineeships annually for 3 consecutive years (2018, 2019, 2020).  A usual training week would be 4 days in 7 to sometimes include weekends.  We expect trainees to use one of their 3 free days per week to work on their qualification.


What support will be available to me whilst I’m on the traineeship?

TfL will employ a full time ‘Training Coordinator’ to manage all aspects of the traineeship and provide support and guidance to the trainees.  There will also be support available from UHI/SCRA.


Will TfL give trainees a job when the traineeship is completed?

There is no guarantee of a job with TfL at the end of the traineeship but if roles in TfL were to become available we would be pleased if a trainee applied for them.  TfL will also provide help to trainees with job applications, CV writing and preparing for interviews.


Is the traineeship paid?

Yes, we expect* to give a bursary payment of £7,450 per trainee to cover living expenses.  Also qualification fees are paid plus there is a clothing and travel allowance per trainee.  In addition, we expect* to offer a £500 bonus available for successful completion of the traineeship.

*budgets are currently being finalised so these figures may change slightly


Is accommodation provided?

Shared accommodation is available FREE on-site at Dundreggan for up to 3 trainees.  Alternatively, a monetary contribution of up to £2000* may be added to the bursary payment to help with accommodation and travel from an off-site location.

Be aware that Dundreggan is a remote location, with poor mobile phone and internet reception, and the nearest local centres (i.e. providing shop, pub, activities etc.) are at least a ½ hours’ drive away.

*budgets are currently being finalised so this figure may change slightly


What are the application criteria for the traineeship?

You must be a UK national and at least 18 years old by the start of the traineeship to apply.

A full, clean, driving licence is desirable but not essential.


We are particularly keen to hear from the following people:

  • Young (under 25) local people who want a career in rural skills
  • Women looking to work in traditionally male dominated roles like deerstalking or forestry
  • Career changers who now want to work in ecological restoration


However, if you do not fit these profiles, or already have qualifications in a related sector, we would still like to hear from you as we can give you the unique opportunity to apply your existing knowledge in a ‘rewilding’ context.



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