The Belfast Hills Partnership are launching a brand new environmental sector training programme for young people aged 18 – 24. This free traineeship requires no previous experience or qualifications, it only takes one day a week for 15 weeks to complete and will enable the participants to take part in a range of practical conservation tasks such as tree planting, wildflower meadow management, and wildlife surveys.


Patricia Deeney, the Youth Development Officer at the Belfast Hills Partnership, said:


“With the job market the way it is, increasingly employers are expecting applicants to have a certain amount of work experience under their belt before they are even considered for a job. But how do young people get that work experience in the first place? It is our hope that the Trainee Ranger scheme will fill this void.


“By completing the programme of one day a week for 15 weeks, the young people will not only increase their practical experience in the workplace, but they will also receive nationally recognised awards and gain a lantra accreditation in the use of strimmers and brushcutters, something that will look great on their CV’s!”


This programme is part of the Our Bright Future project, which Big Lottery Funds, a forward-thinking social movement that’s about supporting young people to lead progressive change in their communities and local environment. They’re tackling environmental issues and the lack of opportunities for young people by using one problem to help another. It’s about unleashing the potential of young people, so they can make a big, positive impact and become an unstoppable force for good.


Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland Chair, said:


“It’s wonderful to see the difference our investment is making to the young people involved in this project, and I want to say thanks to National Lottery players for making this possible. We hope this initiative will help improve their skills, confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing as they get out and about in the Belfast Hills.”


A report published by The Prince’s Trust in April this year, found that almost half of young people in Northern Ireland say they have experienced a mental health problem; with two-thirds of young people regularly feeling stressed and a third going as far to say that they often feel hopeless. The study also reported that half of young people here (51%) agree that having a job gives – or would give – them a sense of purpose. Yet figures from the Office of National Statistics also show that 11% of young people in Northern Ireland are not in employment, education or training.[1] This is something that needs to be addressed, and it is the hope of the Belfast Hills Partnership that the Trainee Ranger scheme will fulfil a desperate need.


The deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday 17th September, with the first day of the scheme starting on Friday 5th October 2018 for 15 weeks. For the application form, click here. Or to find out more, contact or phone the Belfast Hills Partnership office on 028 9060 3466.