Belfast Hills Environmental Sector Training Programme
The conservation sector attracts graduates from wide ranging degree disciplines, meaning lots of competition for jobs. In order to stand out it’s important to start building up relevant experience to complement academic studies. The key to success involves effective networking and gaining as much practical work experience as possible. This week-long undergraduate skills programme seeks to introduce students to a huge variety of career possibilities as well as providing the chance to develop practical skills, knowledge of the sector and provide the opportunity to make contact and network first-hand with individuals working locally in the environmental industry. Practical training will include: core conservation skills, introduction to landscape character, phase 1 habitat surveys, freshwater survey techniques, using the outdoors as a classroom, small mammal ID, moth trapping and exploring how industry and biodiversity can work together.
During this undergraduate conservation skills programme, students will have the opportunity to learn about landscape character. The training has been designed to make students aware of the natural, historical and cultural factors that contribute to the character of our urban fringe and countryside. It will encourage them to develop new skills by focusing on techniques appropriate for analysing, characterizing and interpreting the local landscape and consequently they’ll be asked to carry out Landscape Character Assessments and interpretation reviews. Students will also be encouraged to visit, appreciate and understand how businesses such as quarry companies and landfills operate throughout the hills and subsequently critically evaluate them, restoration plans for these industrial sites will also be considered. Practical hands on training in conservation and countryside management will be a key element of this programme. The Derrygonnelly Field Studies Council will be providing training in Phase 1 habitat surveys, freshwater survey techniques and an introduction to small mammal survey skills. Furthermore local conservation charities e.g. the Woodland Trust and Butterfly Conservation NI will be providing onsite practical skills training and species ID. The Ulster Wildlife Trust will provide a training session on using the outdoors as a classroom. This will help students to explore their creativity in interpreting landscapes for a younger audience as well as focusing on oral communication, leadership and adaptability.
Students will be required to attend each of the 5 days, staff will be present each day and attendance recorded. Furthermore students will be required to actively participate in all of the sessions.