John Muir Trust partners to deliver new land management qualification

Students set to achieve a National Qualification in Countryside Skills and Ranger Training

Dwarf heath monitoringnevis detail

From February 2020, an outdoor training programme the Trust has supported for several years will include a new qualification aimed at people looking to establish careers in fields such as conservation and ranger services.

The ‘National Qualification in Countryside Skills and Ranger Training’ will be delivered by the West Highland College UHI and other organisations including the John Muir Trust, Nevis Landscape Partnership, the Woodland Trust, and Jahama Estates.

Alison Austin, the Trust’s land manager at Ben Nevis and one of the course tutors focussed on land management and native habitats says: “We’re pleased to see this programme take a next step and become a qualification. We’ll retain the practical hands on experience with the addition of training that will become industry tickets such as dry-stone walling and chainsaw operation, and with the support of a lecturer will also give people an NQ, a qualification they can use to show further evidence to prospective employers of the skills they’ve acquired.”

The course introduces the opportunities and challenges presented by visitor management with site visits led by the Nevis Landscape Partnership volunteer coordinator and work with the Trust and other land owners while subjects such as recreation and access and habitat studies are also covered.

The Trust also benefits from the student’s participation in species monitoring work and path maintenance. This Alison Austin says is a win-win, “Our conservation work at Nevis gets extra help while the students learn what the Trust does and why.”

Read more about the course including how to apply or call the University of the Highlands and Islands admission helpline on 01397 874000

Image credit: Nathan Berrie. Photograph shows students taking part in dwarf heath monitoring at Nevis during 2019.