Traineeships Q and A

Questions & Answers about Trees for Life’s (TfL) ‘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 to be able 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 more natural state, without the need for ongoing management by humans where natural processes take place.

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 Trees for Life’s Dundreggan Conservation 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 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
  • Out on short placements with other organisations in relevant sectors
  • Helping to build relationships with communities and schools through creative projects

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 maintenance work
  • People and community engagement work
  • Woodland and landscape planning work

Is there a qualification for completing the traineeship?

Yes, this year the horticulture trainees are working towards a level 2 SVQ in horticulture with the University of Highlands and Islands. The deer and estate management trainee is signed up to a Deer Stalking Certificate level 1 assessment with the British Deer Society and a chainsaw course. The Forestry and Landscape planning trainee is working towards becoming chartered with the Institute of Chartered Foresters. The community engagement trainee is working on a Scottish Countryside Rangers Association qualification and may also sign up to a woodland activity leader training course.

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?

One year (with 7 weeks’ holiday allowance) starting in July 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 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.

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.

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 please still apply and your application will be given equal consideration.


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