Young conservationists learn skills in Peak District National Park

This is an archived press release

Monday 16 December 2013

The Peak District National Park Authority is looking to the future by supporting two young apprentices to gain specialist skills in conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the national park.

Apprentices Laura Matthews and Charlie LovattLaura Matthews, aged 20, is based in the Authority's Countryside & Economy team, learning how to advise farmers and land managers on environmental conservation. And Charlie Lovatt, aged 18, is working with the Estate Rangers, learning the skills of practical environmental work with the South Area Team.

Laura is working towards the Advanced Level 3 Apprenticeship Award and Charlie the Intermediate Level 2 – both supported by a tutor from Derby College.

Laura, who lives in Ripley and went to Mill Hill School, said: "This is a great opportunity to progress my career path – I'm aiming towards an advisory role in countryside management, and the apprenticeship seemed ideal.

"I want to be able to help farmers to earn a livelihood and conserve wildlife at the same time, so they work hand in hand rather than against each other."

Charlie lives in Kingsley, Staffordshire, and attended Cheadle Academy. He said: "I'm really enjoying working alongside the rangers to gain work-based experience in environmental conservation. It is helping me develop a portfolio of different skills to show to future employers.

"This week I've been pruning trees on the Tissington Trail and putting up signs - I love working outdoors and doing a variety of practical jobs in the different seasons to improve the countryside for people and wildlife."

Laura also works as a stable hand and farm park assistant for Two Dales Riding and Trekking Centre at weekends. She has already completed a traineeship in wildlife skills with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and volunteered with Derbyshire County Council Rangers.

Charlie has previously volunteered for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Staffordshire County Council Ranger Service.

This is an archived press release

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