Natural Prospects

Do you love wildlife and working outdoors? Are you practical and willing to learn new skills? Ever thought about a career in nature conservation? From September 2018, The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country will be providing a series of 24 one-year practical conservation training placements to highly motivated individuals with a keen interest in wildlife and conservation.

If you are looking to start your conservation career in Birmingham or the Black Country, you could be eligible for Natural Prospects

We are delighted to have been awarded a National Lottery Grant of £544,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to deliver the Natural Prospects programme.  Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this work based practical training will equip 24 trainees with the skills to to gain an entry level role in the urban conservation sector including a City & Guilds Level 2 Work Based Certificate in Environmental Conservation.

The Natural Prospects programme has been specifically designed to challenge the barriers that exclude some people from working in the environmental conservation sector. To be eligible, you must be 18 or over and either:

  • from a black or minority ethnic group, or
  • a non-graduate, or
  • in receipt of benefits/from an economically deprived area.

Each year, three trainees will be hosted by the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country and three trainees will placed with Birmingham, Walsall and Wolverhampton Councils - based at the Lickey Hills, Walsall Arboretum and Pendeford Mill respectively.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate their ability to work hard outdoors in all weathers, the motivation to connect with people from a range of backgrounds, the desire to learn new skills, to work as part of a team and the personal commitment to complete the training programme. Some kind of volunteering experience in a related activity will be beneficial, as will good practical skills and basic IT skills.

A monthly bursary of £675 per month will be paid to trainees, with the remaining 10% of the total of £9,000 per year to be paid to the trainee upon completion of the award.

The recruitment process will include working as part of a team on practical conservation tasks at different location across Birmingham, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

To find out more please email or call her on 0121 523 0094 extension 213.


Find out about conservation and volunteer days here


Will it affect my housing benefit?
You need to contact your DWP offices or your Council as each case is different. They are the best people to advise you on this.

Is it all outside work?
Most of the work will involve being outside in all weathers but depending on the specific traineeship there are days indoors with office based duties or visitor centre work.

Do I need to have done this sort of work before?
It is helpful if you have some hands-on experience but there are opportunities to volunteer on taster days or one of our more regular volunteer days. Attending these will help you to gain some experience prior to sending in an application or attending an interview.

Do you work with animals?
We maintain and protect the habitats that our native wildlife species live in and carry out surveys for some native species but don’t actually work directly with animals.

Do I need a car or be able to drive?
This is not essential as we will support trainees with travel (e.g. bus pass) within the Birmingham and Black Country area.

Will I have to work weekends?
Occasional weekends and evening working may be required.

Will I need to have a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check?
The trainee role may involve working young people and within schools so a DBS will be required. We will organise this for the successful trainees as part of the induction process.

Do I have to live within Birmingham and the Black Country?
You must be able to travel on a daily basis to the offices/reserves at which your traineship is based. We will consider applications from eligible applicants who can demonstrate the ability to do this.

How many days a week is the placement for and for how long?
The traineeship is a full-time role (five days a week) for a year. Starting at the beginning of September and finishing at the end of August in the following year. There are 5 weeks of holidays.

How much a month do I get paid?
The  monthly bursary payment is approximately £675. In addition to this, we retain 10% of the total bursary (£900) which trainees will then receive on completion of their City & Guilds Certificate. In addition to the bursary each trainee receives an additional training allowance of £1,000 for technical certificates e.g. chainsaw licence or pesticides certificate or a Forest Schools award and £250 allowance for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


Check out this short film made about a similar program in London called Wild Talent.






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