Traineeships Q and A

Questions & Answers about Trees for Life’s ‘Skills for Rewilding’ traineeships:

Below is more information about our traineeships. Please be aware that the trainee programme is continually evolving, 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 are running our traineeships.

What’s the aim of the traineeship?

To give trainees the knowledge, skills and practical experience that will enable them to go on and gain employment working 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 in conjunction with each other to achieve ‘rewilding’.

What is ‘rewilding’?

‘Rewilding’ is the process of enabling ecosystems to return to a more natural state, 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 learn from Trees for Life staff through a wide variety of tasks associated with ‘rewilding’ at Dundreggan, Trees for Life's Highland estate. 

Trainees will also get the opportunity to go on short placements with other organisations (such as RSPB 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 Glenmoriston, 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. Trainees find having access to their own vehicle helps to feel more connected to the outside world, as public transport is scarce and expensive.

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 and the monitoring of plants and animals
  • Assisting the deer stalker to manage deer populations (i.e. stalking, shooting, carcass handling)
  • Working with volunteers to plant trees at ‘rewilding’ project sites
  • Helping to build relationships with communities and schools through creative projects
  • Out on short placements with other organisations in relevant sectors

Trainees would get the opportunity to try a variety of 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 maintenance work
  • People and community engagement work
  • Conservation and landscape management work

Is there a qualification for completing the traineeship?


Tree Nursery and Horticulture trainees will work towards a SVQ Level 2 in Horticulture.

Deer Management and Estate Maintenance trainee will work towards Deer Stalking Certificate Level 1 + Chainsaw and All-Terrain Vehicle (Argo) certification.

Community Engagement trainee will work towards Scottish Countryside Rangers’ Association Foundation Level (opportunity to do additional qualification that supports learning).

Conservation and Landscape Management trainee will work towards SVQ level 2 in Environmental Conservation.

The qualifications are only a part of the traineeship though. The practical experience gained through 12 months of learning from professional mentors will be invaluable. Hands on experience is highly sought after by employers. 

How long is the traineeship for?

The traineeships are twelve months long, starting in July each year. Trees for Life 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 (flexibility is needed to fit in with seasonal busy periods). We expect trainees to use one of their 3 free days per week to work on their qualification.

Is there a holiday entitlement?

Yes, all trainees will have 7 weeks holiday. 4 weeks of the holiday entitlement will be over the winter period (to include Christmas) and three weeks will be flexible. The deer management and estate maintenance trainee will not break for 4 weeks over winter, as it is a busy period

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

There will be 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 the qualification providers. 

Will Trees for Life give trainees a job when the traineeship is completed?

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

Is there money available to support trainees?

Yes, there is a bursary payment of £7,450 per trainee to cover living expenses. This will be given to the trainees in 12 even instalments throughout the year. Also qualification fees are paid plus there is a clothing and travel allowance per trainee. In addition, we will offer a £500 bonus available for successful completion of the traineeship.

Is accommodation provided?

Shared accommodation is available FREE on-site at Dundreggan for some 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. There is very little off site accomodation available nearby, so it might be necessary for us to accomodate 5 trainees in the shared accomodation. If 3 trainees need to live on site there would individual bedrooms, if 5 trainees need to live on site there will be a requirement to share same sex bedrooms (max occupancy 2). We will not know whether sharing of bedrooms is required until the end of the recruitment process.

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 driving licence is essential for most traineeships.

A lack of diversity has been identified within the nature conservation workforce, so we are particularly keen to receive applications from people in the following groups:

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

However, if you do not fit these profiles please still apply and your application will be given equal consideration.

What format will the recruitment process take?

At the beginning of March a short application form will be emailed out to everyone that has registered their interest in the traineeships. Completed application forms need to be emailed back to by 9am on Monday 18th of March.

Applications will be reviewed and a shortlist of prospective candidates drawn up. All shortlisted applicants will be invited to a taster day at Dundreggan, Glenmoriston, by the end of April. The taster day will involve meeting Trees for Life staff, an opportunity to take part in a relevant practical session and a brief 1-2-1 chat with the Training Programme Manager.

Taster days for each traineeship will be on:


 Date of Taster Day 

 Deer Management and

 Estate Maintenance

 Wednesday May 1st 2019 

 Community Engagement

 Wednesday May 8th 2019 

 Tree Nursery Horticulture

 Wednesday May 15th 2019 

 Conservation and Landscape               


 Wednesday May 22nd 2019 


Taster day attendees will be notified whether they have been successful or not by the end of May. The traineeships will start Monday 1st of July.



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