Initial support of £917,000, including £8,400 development funding, has been provisionally agreed under the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future programme to help Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and its partners Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Torfaen County Borough Council.
The ‘Skills in Action’ project is set to begin in spring/summer 2014 and will be run over three years to fund 36 one-year training placements; 18 at Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, 15 at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and three at Torfaen County Borough Council hosted by Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. These environmental sector posts will give applicants the opportunity to work alongside staff learning practical skills through accredited training, such as the use of tools, machinery and chemicals in habitat and access management, as well as felling and treatment of invasive species to conserve wildlife species and habitat. Interpretation and information skills will also be offered.
The ‘Skills in Action’ project builds on Brecon Beacons National Park Authority’s successful Rural Skills programme which has provided accredited training for disadvantaged adults.
Cllr Glynog Davies, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority Member Champion for Sustainable Communities, said: “This is a great opportunity to add value from the National Park status to local people looking for employment in the sector. These placements will provide paid one-year traineeships alongside qualified staff, providing vital employment experience in the environmental sector. There is evidence from other successful projects around the UK to show that applicants from similar schemes who complete these traineeships later gain employment elsewhere within the conservation field.”
Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Nurturing skills – of all types – continues to be a hugely important part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s portfolio of work. Skills for the Future is one of our most successful and over-subscribed programmes with fierce competition to secure funding. The 39 projects that have won through reflect the wide range of training and opportunities on offer in the heritage industry. We’re delighted that through this significant investment 876 new placements will be created right across the UK and hope that this additional funding will help encourage growth and build resilience within the sector.”