Environmental Conservation (England)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR01885
Issue number: 4
Issued: 07 January 2013

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Environmental Conservation (England)
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Contact name: Julie Murphy
Telephone number: 02476 419703
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Defining Apprenticeships

An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme under an Apprenticeship Agreement designed by employers in the sector. It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with functional and personal skills, required for their immediate job and future career. These are acquired through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off the job training and the opportunity to practice and embed new skills in a real work context. This broader mix differentiates the Apprenticeship experience from training delivered to meet narrowly focused job needs.

All apprentices commencing their Apprenticeship must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice. This can be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the Apprenticeship.

On completion of the Apprenticeship the apprentice must be able to undertake the full range of duties, in the range of circumstances appropriate to the job, confidently and competently to the standard set by the industry.

The Environmental Conservation Industry

Environmental conservation covers a wide range of opportunities including the conservation of landscapes, habitats and species alongside the management of public access, recreation and interpretation to promote awareness, understanding and enjoyment of the countryside. The sector also covers associated landscape management skills at policy, planning and technical level together with the maintenance of rivers and waterways.

This provides a range of jobs within large and small, public and private and charitable organisations, such as the National Trust, National Parks, Wildlife Trusts, TCV, local authority countryside services and environmental consultancy.

The Apprenticeship reflects the dynamism and importance of the environmental sector to all individuals and has been developed to give people an understanding of the 21st century's needs of this broad sector. Apprentices will acquire knowledge, understanding and skills through “doing” and therefore gain a clear idea of what working life will be like.

Working in our sector can involve being outdoors practically managing sites by, for example: tree planting and felling; wildlife surveys; community engagement; recreation and education. Jobs provide opportunities to inspire people and engage with wildlife in order to manage and protect our natural heritage for the future.

Joe Taylor, Country Park Manager and Environmental Conservation Industry Group Chair says “The value of vocational learning and practical skills is increasingly being recognised by conservation organisations when recruiting staff and volunteers. This Apprenticeship incorporates the Work-Based Diploma in Environmental Conservation, and offers a diverse and directly relevant programme of learning. It has already been embraced by a number of employers including, for example, some National Park Authorities working in partnership with local colleges. I would encourage all conservation organisations with an interest in developing their staff, or in building on previous project-based skills initiatives, to find out more”. 

Lantra research from 2010 estimates that there are approximately 3,000 organisations and 17,000 people working in the environmental conservation industry in England; in addition to this there are an estimated 200,000 volunteers working in the UK in conservation. This research also found that around 73% of organisations in the UK employ fewer than ten employees. Therefore, each person has an important role to play within the organisation and this emphasises the need for employees to have a variety of skills to help the organisation grow and remain profitable. 

Within the environmental conservation industry there has also been an increase in the demand for highly skilled staff. The current skills which employers feel will become increasingly important over the next few years are: business and management skills, technical/job specific skills (field survey and species identification, environmental/habitat management and wide land-based industry knowledge) and essential skills for example literacy and numeracy, which again emphasise the need for employees to have a variety of skills.

The industry increasingly values the Apprenticeship as a route into the sector, evidenced by growth in completions in England over the last three years and it is vital that those entering the industry can gain the high levels of technical skills required to work in the sector, which has never been more important with the issues of climate change, loss of bio-diversity, energy, food and fuel security and the need for sustainable business practice.

During the review of this Apprenticeship, Lantra involved the English members of the Environmental Conservation Industry Group, which includes employers and organisations such as The Environment Agency, Dry Stone Walling Association; The National Trust; Wildlife Trusts; RSPB; TCV; colleges and other small providers. Further information on the environmental conservation industry can be found at www.lantra.co.uk/Industries/Environmental-Conservation.  

It is the view of the environmental conservation industry that because of the nature of their business, work-based learning through apprenticeships is a sure way to learn the necessary skills required to work in the environmental sector. This important route has therefore been highlighted by employers in the Environmental Conservation Industry Action Plan, which states the need to prioritise and increase the awareness and uptake of apprenticeships within the sector.

The environmental conservation framework offers two pathways with a number of routes which reflect the variety of opportunities within the sector.

  • Job roles at Level 2 may include: estate worker, ranger, conservation officer, dry stone waller, education officer or community officer. Refer to job section for an explanation in Level 2 - pathways Environmental Conservation and Dry Stone Walling.
  • Job roles at Level 3 may include: access/recreation officer, ecologist, environmental management officer, senior ranger, education officer or senior estate worker. Refer to job section for an explanation in Level 3 - pathways Environmental Conservation and Dry Stone Walling.

Further information on the environmental conservation industry can be found at: www.lantra.co.uk/research and on conservation careers at www.info.co.uk/ConservationCareers.

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Environmental Conservation (England)
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