Belfast Hills Partnership are delighted to announce the return of their FREE Trainee Ranger Scheme this Autumn and are looking for young people between the ages of 18-25 to get involved.

The Trainee Ranger Scheme is open to anyone between 18-25 with an interest in gaining practical experience in conservation work.

Now in its fifth year, the highly successful Trainee Ranger Scheme returns to offer young people between the ages of 18-25 an opportunity to gain practical experience in the environmental sector. It is about improving the health and wellbeing of those taking part, whilst at the same time increasing their employability skills. Participants will take part in a wide range of practical conservation tasks such as tree planting, habitat management and wildlife surveys. Participants will also receive nationally recognised awards and gain a Lantra accreditation in the use of strimmers and brushcutters.

Research has shown that nature is a proven solution to tackling issues prevalent among young people today, such as mental health, living in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, economic instability and the climate crisis. It is the hope of the Belfast Hills Partnership that the Trainee Ranger Scheme can help to tackle issues young people are dealing with in a positive way.

The programme is part of Wild Youth, a joint project between the Belfast Hills Partnership and Ulster Wildlife, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. Wild Youth delivers wild wellbeing sessions with young people in and around the Belfast Hills. Wild Youth use nature to improve their physical and mental health. It’s about unleashing the potential of young people so they can make a positive impact and become an unstoppable force for good.

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

“I am delighted to see the return of our Trainee Ranger Scheme for 2022. It is great to see how participants develop and grow over the twelve weeks of activities and training. Past participants have gone from the programme to pursue further education in an environmental field, secured employment as a result of joining the programme and made lifelong friends along the way. We are also very excited to see a relative return to normality this year in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. However the health and wellbeing of our participants is a primary concern and so all activities are Covid-19 risk assessed.”

Belfast Hills Partnership Manager Jim Bradley added:

“It has long been established that getting close to nature and the outdoors improves health and wellbeing. Our goal with the Trainee Ranger Scheme is to help young people to develop confidence and self-esteem by nurturing their connection to the local environment, leading to greater involvement in the Belfast Hills or to further volunteering, training or employment.”

The deadline for applications is Tuesday 13th September 2022. The scheme itself starts on Tuesday 4th October, and takes place every Tuesday for 15 weeks (with a break at Halloween and Christmas).
Download an application form at the bottom of the page or for more information email [email protected] or phone the Belfast Hills Partnership office on 028 9060 3466.