Teenager Laura Ogilvie has landed an apprenticeship - in looking after wildlife.
Following the appointment, Northumberland Wildlife Trust is hoping to roll out an apprenticeship scheme across the whole organisation.
Lauren, from Newcastle spent a year in the sixth form at Benfield School studying for A levels in biology, philosophy and ethics, history and sports leadership, before deciding she needed a new challenge.
Searching on the website of the National Apprenticeship Service she spotted the trust’s advertisement for a People & Wildlife apprentice.
Lauren is now working on the trust’s Acorns to Oaks project with military families and the Stanley Smith (UK) Horticultural Trust project at the wildlife charity’s urban reserve in Gosforth, Newcastle as well as developing teaching materials for use by her colleagues in the People & Wildlife team.
Northumberland College is the training provider for Lauren’s apprenticeship offering advice on her personal development programme and supporting her as she studies for an NVQ Level II in Environmental Conservation.
Lou Chapman, Northumberland Wildlife Trust volunteer co-ordinator said: “Lauren’s appointment is one of the first apprenticeships in the trust and judging by the large number of applications for the position it proved to be very popular.
“Ideally, we would really like to be able to roll the apprenticeship scheme out across the whole organisation as staff here have a wealth of knowledge and skills which they would love to pass on to the next generation of young people.”
The Acorns to Oaks project is part of a Big Lottery Fund Well-Being programme to work with groups of military families in the region.
The Well-Being in the East programme, is being delivered by Enable East, and the trust is delivering a programme of wildlife projects with six schools over a 13-month period.
The schools, including those in Longhoughton, Stamfordham, Alnwick, Ponteland and Bellingham were chosen because of their proximity to Albermarle and Otterburn barracks and RAF Boulmer and therefore the number of children from military families who are pupils.
According to the Children’s Education Advisory Service, military families experience frequent job/school/house moves and parental absences which can cause stress.
Connecting people with nature is now acknowledged as a therapeutic way of improving physical and mental well-being.
Acorns to Oaks involves the People & Wildlife Team introducing a programme in each school to include three days on one of the trust’s reserves, a Family Celebration Day and a Growing Club.