Lakeland apprentices are to learn rural skills

Date: Friday 24th August 2012

A TEAM of new Lake District environmental conservation apprentices will start work in the national park next month after an intensive recruitment and assessment program earlier this summer.

The recruits will work for an 18-month term of practical and academic tuition under Lake District National Park Authority apprentice supervisor 27-year-old Matt Eaves, who came to the Lake District after working on a similar scheme in the North York Moors.

The apprentices will learn rural skills such as dry stone walling, hedging, and traditional building restoration. Tools and equipment needed for these tasks, including a new Land Rover, chainsaws and brush-cutters, have been provided by local sponsors such as Lakeland Land Rover, ACE Fixings and Lloyds Tractors, of Penrith.

Without this support the authority would have been unable to secure £450,000 of match funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“Our successful candidates are all of outstanding quality. This project is a fantastic opportunity to pass on skills that might otherwise have died out. A big thank you to all the local businesses which have got involved”, said Matt.

The apprentices will start their six-month academic training next January, but before that major practical training sessions are planned throughout the national park, including mineshaft fencing on Caldbeck Common, and bridge decking along Keswick railway.

The Fell Futures Apprentice Scheme is a partnership between the national park, National Trust, Environment Agency, United Utilities and the Forestry Commission, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The formal assessment and qualifications will be provided by Newton Rigg College.