Fell Futures Apprentices

Case study: Fell Futures Apprentices

The issue

Repair and maintenance of footpaths, gates and stiles is vital to the tourist economy. Funding had been secured for the Fix the Fells programme enabling much essential path repair work to be completed. However there were not enough skilled and experienced staff to complete the work.

We also identified a lack of young people with rural and heritage skills necessary for continued maintenance of the Lake District special landscape.

The solution

A successful bid was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund to establish an apprenticeship scheme. Key elements of the scheme are:

  • Nine young people to gain training and qualifications over 3 years
  • 30 volunteers trained to a higher skill level
  • Practice skills such as footpath creation and maintenance. Drystone walling and bridge building.
  • Gain qualifications in working with chainsaws, brush cutters, 4x4 vehicles and all terrain vehicles.
  • One day per week spent at Newton Rigg College studying environmental conservation.


The scheme is a partnership between the main organisations who own or manage land in the Lake District. They provide specialist knowledge and advice in return for labour from the team.

  • Ourselves, the Lake District National Park Authority
  • United Utilties – the water supply company that manages reservoirs and catchment areas in the Lake District
  • Forestry Commission
  • National Trust
  • Environment Agency


The scheme started in September 2012. By June 2014, eight apprentices had been trained. Five went on to full time employment with LDNPA, National Trust South Lakeland District Council, BAE Systems and Lakes Tree surgeons.

The remaining three are continuing their studies. New apprentices have now been recruited to join the scheme.