THERE is a huge appetite among Scottish young people to work in rewilding, according to a charity.

Trees for Life has just finished a landmark three-year skills development project to help 15 people from diverse backgrounds pursue a career in rewilding.

With more than 1000 people registering their interest to take part in the Skills for Rewilding programme across its three-year run, the pioneering project has revealed a significant demand among Scots to find practical ways to help nature and the climate.

The programme welcomed five people each year to the Trees for Life Dundreggan rewilding estate in Glenmoriston where they spent 12 months carrying out hands-on rewilding activities.

Traineeships included tree nursery horticulture, deer management, conservation, landscape planning, digital marketing and community engagement.

To attract a more diverse range of applicants, including those under-represented in the nature restoration field, the project provided each trainee with a bursary and onsite accommodation.

Trees for Life recruited a mix of local young people, women wanting to work in traditionally male-dominated roles and those looking for a career change.

Paul Greaves, Trees for Life manager of the rewilding training programme, said: “For each year, we received hundreds of applications.

“Participants came from a range of backgrounds and previous jobs, including hospitality, retail and construction.

“It’s clear that there is a growing public appetite to help nature in Scotland. Nationally, we need more investment in skills development to harness this potential workforce, which will benefit communities, biodiversity and the climate.”

Heather McGowan from Inverness worked in a bar before undertaking the tree nursery horticulture traineeship this year. She is going to keep working at the Trees for Life nursery at Dundreggan, which grows tens of thousands of native trees each year.

She said: “Skills for Rewilding has really changed my career trajectory. Working at Trees for Life has opened up a whole new world to me. When I go out into the local landscape, I’m more clued up on native trees, plants and wildlife.”

Trees for Life has been rewilding Dundreggan estate in Glenmoriston since 2008, growing native trees from seed and planting new forests.

In spring 2023, the world’s first Rewilding Centre will open at the acclaimed site, making rewilding and its many benefits accessible to many more people.

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