Skills for Rewilding

Trees for Life

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Job Description

Under 25 and living in the Highlands? Fancy a career in rural skills and nature conservation?

Apply now for one of our trainee places and gain:

Get all of this whilst being paid!

Trees for Life (TfL) are a small environmental charity and are offering traineeships with the following aim:

To develop the knowledge, skills and experience to work on landscape scale ecological restoration projects to ‘rewild’ parts of the Scottish Highlands.  This includes using newer nature conservation techniques and more traditional rural estate skills, such as forestry and deer stalking, in conjunction with each other to achieve ‘rewilding’.

What is ‘rewilding’?

‘Rewilding’ is about returning ecosystems to a healthy state, a state that is in balance so the ecosystem is self-sustaining, without the need for ongoing management by humans.

What is the format of the traineeship?

This is NOT a taught, academic, classroom based traineeship.  It is a work experience based ‘learning by doing’ traineeship where trainees will shadow and work with TfL staff assisting them with their day to day tasks on ‘rewilding’ at TfLs Dundreggan Conservation Estate.

Trainees will also get the opportunity to go on short placements with other organisations (such as Forestry Commission or Scottish Natural Heritage) that are involved with woodland restoration and land management for nature conservation.  These placements are intended to allow trainees to see how other organisations operate, the types of work going on across the sector, and to create links that might help them with their future careers.

Where is the Dundreggan Conservation Estate?

Dundreggan is in Glen Moriston, on the A887 between Invermoriston and Loch Cluaine.

Be aware that Dundreggan is a remote location, with poor mobile phone and internet reception.  The nearest local centres (i.e. providing shop, pub, activities etc.) are at least a ½ hours’ drive away.

What would trainees be doing day to day on the traineeship?

The tasks at Dundreggan are mostly active, outdoors and subject to seasonal variation.  Trainees need to be prepared to get their hands dirty, work in all weathers, and deal with the midges!  

Trainees might be…

Trainees would get the opportunity to try all these things, and others, but over the training year trainees will concentrate on one of the four specific skills areas available, either:

Is there a qualification for completing the traineeship?

Yes, if the qualification is appropriate for them, we expect* to be able to offer trainees the chance to complete an SVQ Level 2 in either Horticulture or Trees & Timber, or a National Certificate in Gamekeeping, all via University of Highlands & Islands (UHI) or a Scottish Apprentice Ranger Certificate via the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association (SCRA) depending on which skills area they concentrate on.  These are all vocational work based qualifications that are transferrable to future careers.

*links to qualifications, and particular courses, are currently being finalised and may change slightly

How long is the traineeship for?

One year (with 7 weeks’ holiday allowance) starting in June each year.  TfL will run traineeships annually for 3 consecutive years (2018, 2019, 2020).  A usual training week would be 4 days in 7 to sometimes include weekends.  We expect trainees to use one of their 3 free days per week to work on their qualification.

What support will be available to me whilst I’m on the traineeship?

TfL will employ a full time ‘Training Coordinator’ to manage all aspects of the traineeship and provide support and guidance to the trainees.  There will also be support available from UHI/SCRA.

Will TfL give trainees a job when the traineeship is completed?

There is no guarantee of a job with TfL at the end of the traineeship but if roles in TfL were to become available we would be pleased if a trainee applied for them.  TfL will also provide help to trainees with job applications, CV writing and preparing for interviews.

Is the traineeship paid?

Yes, we expect* to give a bursary payment of £7,450 per trainee to cover living expenses.  Also qualification fees are paid plus there is a clothing and travel allowance per trainee.  In addition, we expect* to offer a £500 bonus available for successful completion of the traineeship.

*budgets are currently (as at Aug 2017) being finalised so these figures may change slightly

Is accommodation provided?

Basic (i.e. bothy style), self-catering, shared, accommodation is available FREE on-site at Dundreggan for up to 3 trainees.  Alternatively, a monetary contribution of up to £2000* may be added to the bursary payment to help with accommodation and travel from an off-site location.

Be aware that Dundreggan is a remote location, with poor mobile phone and internet reception, and the nearest local centres (i.e. providing shop, pub, activities etc.) are at least a ½ hours’ drive away.

*budgets are currently (as at Aug 2017) being finalised so this figure may change slightly

Entry Requirements


We are looking for trainees who are happy to work outdoors on practical tasks, to 'learn by doing', and who are enthusiastic about a career in the nature conservation and land management sectors.


SVQs and Apprentice Countryside Ranger certificate qualifications are achieved by 'learning by doing' whilst undertaking a variety of practical tasks on the Dundreggan Estate. A portfolio of evidence is then compiled demonstrating the skills learnt from these tasks and this is assessed by University of Highlands and Islands (UHIs) or Scottish Countryside Ranger Association.

National Certificate in Gamekeeping follows a similar pattern but also includes several weeks of tuition at UHIs North Highland College in Thurso.

Qualifications Achieved

SVQ Level 2 Horticulture or SVQ Level 2 Trees and Timber or National Certificate Gamekeeping - all from University of Highlands and Islands.

Alternatively an Apprentice Countryside Ranger certificate from Scottish Countryside Rangers Association.