TWELVE unemployed people from Copeland now have a better understanding of working in the great outdoors thanks to a programme delivered through the Copeland Work and Skills Partnership.
The course, which looked at a range of career opportunities in the natural environment, was supported by West Lakes Adventure, West Cumbria Rivers Trust and the Lake District National Park. The programme was delivered over four weeks during June.
Candidates heard about the career journeys of those already employed in the industry, and learned what skills and qualifications are needed for this type of work.
Copeland Mayor, Mike Starkie, said: "Our amazing natural environment means a career in the outdoors is a realistic and rewarding option for local job-seekers. The industry is closely linked to our tourism agenda and we are delighted to be able to link employers in the sector with enthusiastic people looking to take this path."
West Lakes Adventure introduced the participants to archery, looking in particular at how to manage group activities. There were also team building activities with an emphasis on safety and communication.
One of the course members, Jack McPhillips, said: "I signed up as someone searching for a career rather than a job, and the programme has definitely put me on the right track.
"It was a great way to see the kind of work I'd be doing in a career in conservation or outdoor pursuits, and a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests and an enjoyment of the outdoors."
West Cumbria Rivers Trust (WCRT) introduced the group to river management, getting them involved in water quality monitoring and pulling out invasive Himalayan Balsam.
Karin Crofts, WCRT Project Officer, said: "It was great to work on the programme – I wish we’d had this scheme when I was looking for a job! Working outdoors may not appeal to everyone but this helps people better understand what’s involved and the skills and experience needed to get there."
With the Lake District National Park (LDNP), the group removed Rhododendron with hand saws, repaired footpaths and undertook survey work.
Steve Tatlock, Ranger Team Leader with the LDNP, said: “Those attending were enthusiastic, engaged and very productive in their time with us. We would welcome them to join our existing volunteers and encourage those who plan a career in the outdoors."
All the course participants received advice on next steps and career resources. They can also progress to a longer-term programme delivered through the Outdoor Partnership later this month.
Candidates were referred to the programme by the Department of Work and Pensions, Whitehaven JCP and other partners.
For further information, contact Copeland Council’s Work and Skills Officer, Chris Pickles, at Chris.firstname.lastname@example.org.