A Fells Futures apprentice chainsawing a log

Fell Futures Apprenticeship Scheme

This scheme trains young people in skills essential in managing somewhere as special as the Lake District National Park. It was set up to fill an identified gap in the rural and heritage skills sector.

How is it funded?

The project is currently funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and since 2012 we have been able to;

  • Employ an Apprentice Supervisor
  • Train eleven apprentices at intermediate and advanced levels.
  • Equip and operate an apprentice field team and embed three advanced apprentices across the Park with our Rangers.
  • Recruit and train volunteers to a higher skill standard
  • Recruit and draw on the experience of twelve industry-wide mentors 

The project aims to train the next generation of responsible land managers with a focus on rural and heritage skills. This is through a combination of experience in the field and training in nationally recognised qualifications. 

What does the scheme offer?

The project provides a blend of experience and knowledge for those looking to enter the sector. Most apprentices start at Level 2 to hone their practical skills before potentially progressing to Level 3. The level 3 apprentices will in turn supervise and train a team of 30 volunteers in countryside management and develop their skills in managing and delivering practical projects across the Park.


Alongside training apprentices we also offer a volunteer training programme for those wishing to gain experience, Click for more details


Gaining experience through familiarity is critical to increase competency in the field. Core areas include:

  • Drystone walling
  • Cumberland and Westmorland hedgelaying
  • Rights of Way maintenance and installation including gates, stiles and waymarking
  • Bridge-building
  • River bank stabilisation
  • Upland footpath maintenance and restoration
  • Footpath creation and maintenance
  • Rights of Way surveying
  • Fencing
  • Machine operations


Apprentices attend Newton Rigg college one day a week for a Work Based Diploma (WBD) in Environmental Conservation. They also receive training to achieve nationally recognised qualifications in:

  • Chainsaw operations
  • Brushcutter and strimmer's
  • All terrain vehicle use
  • 4x4 driving
  • Working at heights
  • Herbicide use and application
  • Working in and near water
  • Digger and dumper driving
  • Navigation
  • Trailer towing
  • 1st Aid


Key partners support the scheme. They provide specialist knowledge and skills in return for labour by the team:

  • Newton Rigg supply training and assessment for the WBD Level 2 and 3 in Environmental Conservation.
  • Environment Agency provide an insight into river corridor management including the use of soft engineering techniques, willow spiling and surveying.
  • National Trust deliver tuition in walling and hedgelaying at their properties throughout the Lake District.
  • Forestry Commission provide tuition and practical experience of forestry management including clear felling, spraying and re-planting.

The future

  • We are currently seeking funding to continue the scheme. We are not recruiting this year but if you are interested in apprenticeships in this sector take a look at the Rusland Horizons project or Newton Rigg College

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund logo