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Apprenticeships open for New Forest national park rangers

A New Forest NPA ranger at the Ashurst wild play site
A New Forest NPA ranger at the Ashurst wild play site

A GRANT to encourage young people to take up a career caring for the environment has helped the national park authority to offer two ranger apprenticeships next year.

The NPA will also employ a project officer in the Forest to support youth enterprises, thanks to a £65,000 grant from the national Green Recovery challenge fund, which is aimed at inspiring the next generation to become involved in protecting habitats.

Gillie Molland, the NPA’s lead ranger, said the new apprentice rangers would follow six that have already been trained by the authority and partners.

She said: “We are thrilled to be extending the successful apprentice rangers’ schemes. We will offer two environmental conservation paid apprenticeships.”

The fund is aimed at kick-starting environmental renewal whilst boosting a range of jobs in England as well as training, volunteering roles, residential and outdoor learning experiences.

This year the project will prioritise young people from BAME groups – black, Asian and minority ethnic – as well as from disadvantaged backgrounds and coastal communities.

Helen Robinson, lead education and youth officer for the NPA, added: “The newly appointed project officer will seek to bridge a connection to nature and sense of place for young people in local communities by creating public nature sites in residential areas both inside and outside the boundary of the national park.

“It is vitally important that young people have access to nature, many of whom faced lockdown without gardens or access to green spaces.

“Using our strong connections with parish and town councils and involving young people in the design and creation of these spaces, our aim is to enable more young people than ever before to access, enjoy and learn about the special qualities of our national park.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund, on behalf of Defra, awarded the Green Recovery scheme £2.5m which is given out to a variety of not-for-profit education providers.

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