The wide expanses of heathland, the rolling green downlands and and the numerous woods, copses and shaws throughout the county, all form part of Surrey's outstanding natural heritage. In addition to providing opportunities for recreation and employment, these areas support an amazing wealth of wildlife and they contribute significantly to making Surrey such a pleasant and desirable place to live.
In order to balance the many demands made on these natural areas by modern life and to maintain them for future generations to enjoy, appropriate and sympathetic management is essential.
Surrey County Council, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund "Skills for the Future" Programme, is running a four year training project specifically directed at people wanting to gain the skills and experience needed to manage our natural heritage.
The project started in spring 2011 and, each year, three paid apprenticeships are available. Applicants do not need to have any specific educational or work background, but need to demonstrate a keen interest and commitment to working in the countryside sector. Applications from under-represented groups are particularly welcome.
In addition to a year-long programme of training (both in-house and certified external courses) the trainees work full-time with three, Surrey-based countryside management projects. These placements provide the opportunity to work alongside other countryside professionals, utilise the skills they have gained on the training courses, see a variety of different sites and gain invaluable hands-on experience.
Our trainees for 2014 started their year in April. This will be the final year of lottery funding, but keep an eye on these pages for further opportunities that we hope to offer young people interested in careers in countryside management.
Based in Reigate and working throughout north-east Surrey and parts of south London, the Downlands Project was founded in 1988 and specialises in all aspects of the management of chalk downland, particularly on the North Downs.
Lower Mole Project
Based near Epsom in Horton Country Park, the Lower Mole Project has been operating since 1983 and carries out management tasks on a range of different habitats including woodland, ponds, and rights of way.
Surrey Heathland Project
Based in Guildford, the Surrey Heathland Project was set up in 1989 and operates across the west of the county, providing specialist practical skills, advice and conservation grazing for the heathlands of Surrey and beyond.
For more details, please contact the Heritage Skills Project Coordinator on 03456 009 009