Countryside Trainee Scheme

In the Yorkshire Dales we’re lucky enough to have some of England's finest countryside. To care for it takes sensitive management by expertly trained individuals.

In the Dales it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find people with skills necessary for the long term care of our upland environment. Combined with this we’re seeing a dramatic loss of 16-24 year olds as rural communities try to adapt to rapidly changing economics.

So in June 2010 YDMT launched the Dales Countryside Trainee scheme to help meet the urgent needs of young people and to bridge the gap in local skills and knowledge.

The Scheme 2010-2012

In summer 2010 twelve young people started on a programme of vocational training in environmental and countryside management across the Dales. Over the next two years they gained valuable experience in a 22 month placement with a local employer, learning from skilled practitioners. They also studied for a Level 2 Qualification in Environmental Conservation at Craven College. Some of the training they received included:

  • Health and Safety
  • ATV use
  • Business skills
  • Dry Stone walling
  • Woodland restoration
  • Historic structures

After two years the majority of our Trainees went into jobs in the sector or onto higher level training and education.

The Organisations

The Dales Countryside Trainee scheme received overwhelming support from local employers. Organisations in the Dales need people with the right skills to fulfill all types of roles including estate management, conservation work, buildings work and habitat management. The organisations offering placements through the scheme had specialist staff to support the trainees and often an estate or area of environmental interest to provide a focus for work experience.

  • The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
  • Natural England
  • The National Trust
  • Dinsdale Moorland Services
  • Horton Landscaping
  • North Yorkshire County Council
  • Swinton Estate
  • DTMS Ltd

Dinsdale Moorland Services (DMS) is a company that has experienced the benefits of working with trainees. One of their employees James Holgate took part in YDMT’s Apprenticeship Scheme in 2007, where he worked with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

James’ role with DMS involved all aspects of countryside management, and has even included testing mountain bike trails.

Gareth Evans, former Managing Director of DMS, said: 
“The Countryside Trainee Scheme gives young people the opportunity to gain ‘real life’ experience and a valuable Countryside Management qualification. DMS have had the good fortune of working with a number of apprentices over the years and are thrilled to be involved in the scheme."


The Dales Countryside Trainee Scheme was the brainchild of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, and was made possible through grant awards from the Yorkshire Dales LEADER programme, Rural Access to Opportunities and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority via the Sustainable Development Fund.

The funding for this project was made available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union.

Click here to find out more about European Funding.

The Future

We're delighted to announce that we have recently launched a new programme called the Dales Rural Trainee Scheme offering these same life-changing opportunities to another group of youngsters.