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West Highland College UHI is joining with Fort William-based Nevis Landscape Partnership (NLP) to offer a new qualification in the great outdoors.
The course should prove attractive to students of all ages and backgrounds who have an interest in the countryside and a desire to contribute to conservation and provision for visitors.
The partnership welcomed the Countryside Skills with Ranger Training saying: ‘We are excited to embark on this new structure for our Trainee Volunteer Ranger Scheme, working in partnership with West Highland College UHI.
‘Building on the positive legacy of our previous ranger training programme, working with our partners the John Muir Trust, the Woodland Trust and Jahama Estates, we are now adding valuable work experience.’
Underpinning the programme will be regular input from an experienced college lecturer and, on successful completion, in addition to practical and theoretical knowledge, students will gain recognised industry awards plus a National Qualification.
The course includes practical skills training, conservation and visitor management tasks led by the NLP volunteer co-ordinator and landowning partners, giving opportunity to contribute to positive action in the area, and through engaging with potential employers, enhance their prospects.
Theoretical work covers habitat studies, an understanding of visitor provision, recreation and access issues and consideration of land use, management objectives and possible conflicts of interest.
Industry awards offer certification in specialist skills such as dry-stone
walling, chainsaw operation, quad bike use, navigation, outdoor first aid and tree surveying.
Course leader Heather McNeill said: ‘Following on from the success of our Skye-based rural skills course, this course has been developed in
response to feedback from organisations and employers in Scotland’s rural sector.
‘Employers are looking for staff with an understanding of countryside issues, a wide range of practical skills and the knowledge and confidence to work safely and effectively. This fast-paced and exciting course aims to deliver that.’
The course is based in Fort William, four days per week for 18 weeks, and starts in February.
Interviews will take place in January and applications are open online now at https://www.whc.uhi.ac.uk/courses/nq-countryside-skills-with-ranger-training/ or telephone admissions on 01397 874000.