At The Ecology Centre we work with our colleagues within the Fife Rural Skills Partnership and recruit apprentices for the Our Bright Futures Programme. The programme offers three levels of activity and The Ecology Centre is involved in Level 1 and Level 2.
There are 3 NEW different Level 2 Modern Apprenticeships available at different sites across Fife for young people aged between 16 and 24 years, living in Fife who are currently not in education, employment or training.
Level 2 is all about offering Modern Apprenticeships to your people aged between 16 and 24 years living in Fife who are currently unemployed and not in education. At The Ecology Centre we offer the Modern Apprenticeship in Rural Skills (Estate Maintenance). The other Modern Apprenticeships available are:-
- Modern Apprenticeship in Trees and Timber level 2 based at the Centre for Stewardship on Falkland Estate
- Modern Apprenticeship in Horticulture level 2 based at Cambo Heritage Trust on Cambo Estate, near Kingsbarns
In March 2017 we recruited two apprentices—Jordan McKinney and Ben Kirkbride, they’ve spent the last year learning new skills and putting them into practise on our site at Kinghorn Loch. Throughout the year they’ve gained industry recognised qualifications such as:-
- Lantra Brushcutter and trimmer operation
- NPTC Level 2 in Pesticide application (PA1 and PA6 use of hand held equipment)
- Practical experience, including work on site to build up experience in general grounds maintenance
- Maintaining and repairing paths, surfaces, repairing fences and boundaries
- Gardening and conservation tasks
Not only have the apprentices been gaining these new qualifications and putting their new skills into practise, they’ve also become part of the team at The Ecology Centre and are valued by the staff and volunteers, they have also become firm friends too.
When Jordan left school he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, so when he heard about this opportunity he was keen to get on board. Said Jordan “the training I’ve received has been great, I’ve really enjoyed it and I’ve really liked the changing seasons and understanding all the different jobs that need to be done for each season. The banter with the volunteers at the Wednesday volunteer lunch has been a highlight and meeting Ben. I’ve met a friend for life.”
Jordan is now looking forward to using all these new skills and investigating job opportunities on a farm or as a ground worker on another site. Through this apprenticeship he’s learned to drive a tractor - which bodes well for working on a farm. He’s now busy working on his next driving challenge—learning to drive a car!
Ben was keen on doing the Modern Apprenticeship in Rural Skills (Estate Management) as he’s looking to set up his own gardening business. Throughout his time at The Ecology Centre he’s been learning all the different skills needed to do this, as well as what equipment he will need to start up his own business too.
Ben said “I would really recommend the Our Bright Futures Programme to anyone who is thinking about applying. I’ve had a fantastic year and received invaluable training and gained new skills. My highlights have included meeting all the other apprentices, getting to know them and working alongside Jordan has been fun.”
The Modern Apprenticeships are fantastic opportunities - to find out more or to apply, applications should be made via the website www.OpportunitesFife.org and can also be found at www.fiferuralskills.com under the news and events section. The closing date for all applications is 23rd February.