Who we are
Surrey Wildlife Trust is the only organisation with a mission to increase and safeguard biodiversity and bio-abundance in Surrey. With the impacts of the climate and nature crisis becoming more apparent and severe by the day, this mission could not be more urgent or important. As we manage some 60 wildlife reserves across the county, the Trust, therefore, places unprecedented importance on developing partnerships with businesses, public bodies, communities and individuals to address the scale of this challenge and build a movement for change that works at every level of society. Investing in the skills and career prospects of a new generation of green professionals - who will act as ambassadors for how to live and work sustainably, inspire other young people to consider working in the environmental sector and deliver priceless practical conservation outcomes - exemplifies this approach.
What do we want to do?
Investing in the Nature Restoration Traineeship will enable Surrey Wildlife Trust to meet three key objectives:
- Increase the diversity of the natural heritage workforce, making it more representative and more effective.
- Protect, maintain and expand natural habitats, contributing towards 30% of land and sea restored for nature by 2030.
- Address skills shortages within the environmental sector, making it better equipped to meet the huge challenges we all face.
Why is it needed?
To tackle the nature and climate crises, we must encourage the participation of people from a broader range of backgrounds and increase the overall number of people working in climate and conservation related jobs.
The environmental sector is already experiencing a skill shortage and urgently requires individuals with specialist and transferable skills such as practical land management, biological recording, freshwater science, technology, and project or business management.
Through our traineeship, we aim to address these issues by recruiting and training a total of twelve individuals in yearly intakes over the next four years.
The programme will provide desperately needed training opportunities and will be a great opportunity for those looking to enter the sector to gain the much-needed practical skills to further develop their careers.
At Surrey Wildlife Trust, we already have a successful track record of delivering training placements, through our previous Voluntary Trainee Ranger scheme. The programme was set up in 2008 and was a great opportunity for individuals to develop practical hands-on experience in land management within a leading conservation charity. However, the scheme was unpaid, and this is not a sustainable option for most people.
Our Nature Restoration Trainees build on this experience, and paying the trainees a salary will help to break the financial barrier that exists in voluntary unpaid trainee schemes. This will allow a wider range of people to apply, no matter what their background or financial situation.
What does the trainee programme entail?
Each trainee placement will be for four days a week for 12 months. During the four days, the trainees will work with the Reserves Management Team. The fifth day is free to do something for their personal development or another organisation. A wide range of experiences will help the trainees to develop as well-rounded individuals, making their next step into paid employment much easier.
A trainee might typically gain experience in the following areas:
- Landscape-scale restoration such as practical habitat and site management on heathland, grassland, woodland & wetland
- Co-organise and lead groups of practical conservation volunteers
- Carry out reactive duties across the estate including tree works, repairs to furniture and infrastructure and path clearance
- Assist with aspects of conservation grazing, including fencing, moving cattle, and stock-checking
- Assisting with large annual Trust events for members and other partners
- Provide an on-site warden presence, liaising with local users, and ensuring appropriate public use of sites
- Small-scale project management, including budget and time management skills
- In addition to working alongside staff, trainees will also receive formal training in first aid and the use of chainsaws, as well as internal training courses on topics such as livestock welfare checking, education, hedgerow management, and wildlife legislation
What could we do if we hit our target?
To address the nature and climate crises, and green skills shortage, Surrey Wildlife Trust is seeking funds to support twelve trainees for four years. This includes their wages (paid at minimum wage and including National Insurance, Pension, and Death In Service), Personal Protective Equipment, IT costs, travel expenses, clothing, training fees and full cost recovery.
Thanks to support from a major donor, the Trust has already received funds to cover the costs of three trainees who were recruited in September 2023 for one year.
In addition to this, part-funding has been received from external donors, Bupa and Kia, for another three trainees who will be recruited in September 2024. However, an additional amount of £39,000 is required to cover the shortfall needed to fund these three placements in September 2024.
Raising an additional £81,000 would enable Surrey Wildlife Trust to recruit three more trainees for an additional year, starting in September 2025.
Furthermore, investing an extra £85,000 would allow us to train three final trainees who would be recruited in September 2026.
How we will spend the money we raise
£39,000 will cover the shortfall needed to fund three trainees in September 2024.
£27,000 will fund one trainee for one year, starting in September 2025, including salary, training, clothing, PPE, and full cost recovery.
£81,000 will fund three trainees over twelve months, starting in September 2025.
£28,333 will fund one trainee for one year including salary, training, clothing, PPE, and full cost recovery from September 2026.
£85,000 will fund three trainees over twelve months from September 2026.
How you can help
By investing in the Nature Restoration Trainees, you will help people from a wider range of backgrounds enter our hugely rewarding and important sector, at a time when nature is in greater need of strong and plausible voices from all communities. You will increase the number of people working in environmental jobs, helping fill the existing skills gap, and creating a legacy of future leaders in nature restoration and the green sector.
This scheme will make a real difference in the lives of the people who participate, giving them the chance to gain the skills and experiences that could be the foundation for long-term careers. Their work will have immense benefits for wildlife, people and our planet.
- Surrey Hills © Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography
- Ness and Ashley © Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography
- Tree planting © Richard Osbourne
- Youth Action Committee © Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography