Project Reference D-6 : PAWS Student Placement

Using information from the Ancient Woodland Inventory, a project undertaken by the Woodland Trust to determine the extent of ancient woodland in Northern Ireland, the Woodland Trust estimates that there are over 45ha (110 acres) across approximately 20 Planted Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS), within the Faughan Valley LPS. Some of these sites are managed by Forest Service Northern Ireland, and they are obliged to undertake restoration under EU regulations, but the majority of the sites are under private ownership.

The Faughan Valley LPS will employ a student on a one-year placement and enable him/her to gain hands on experience of how to conserve and restore ancient woodland.

The student will undertake desk top and field survey work to map and assess the condition of the PAWS resource in the Faughan Valley. In addition they will be tasked with producing a database of PAWS landowners and to support the Landscape Officer in making contact with these landowners to encourage them to undertake restoration of their PAWS resource. They will also work with a number of PAWS landowners to produce management plans for their sites.

The student placement will report directly to the Landscape Officer but will also benefit from a programme of mentoring and support from the Woodland Trust’s UK PAWS restoration team, through both formal and informal training and from others teams across the Trust.  Within the Trust there is a significant breadth and depth of in-house skills associated with all aspects of woodland conservation and the student placement will be able to draw on this knowledge and expertise. As a result WT is uniquely placed within the natural heritage sector to offer this type of heritage skills training.

Our target audience will be graduates aiming to work within the environmental conservation sector, local authority or community based posts that will link into the conservation and preservation of our natural heritage, and in particular ancient woodland. By targeting graduates who have an environmental related degree and who already have an interest in working with heritage we will reduce the risk of the student completing their placements and then moving out of the heritage sector.

Our project will support the trainees financially through the provision of bursary payments and in addition enable them to recover their travel and subsistence costs.

All trainees will undergo WT standard health and safety training covering aspects such as manual handling training; and receive a work station review to ensure their office set up creates a safe and healthy working environment.

By end of their placements the student will be much better equipped to seek employment within the heritage sector. As part of the development they will have benefitted from a formal personal development plan. Trainees will have also gained regional knowledge relevant to their roles and be perfectly placed to move into roles within other future HLF funded projects, within or outside of our organisation. They will also benefit from a reference from the WT, the leading name in UK woodland conservation which will open the door to other roles in the heritage sector.

Information will be compiled throughout the project and brought together in an evaluation report during its final stages. This document, which will assess the successes the project has had, will be disseminated to partners to enable them to gain from the lessons learnt.

Using information from the Ancient Woodland Inventory, a project undertaken by the Woodland Trust to determine the extent of ancient woodland in Northern Ireland, the Woodland Trust estimates that there are over 45ha (110 acres) across approximately 20 Planted Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS), within the Faughan Valley LPS. Some of these sites are managed by Forest Service Northern Ireland, and they are obliged to undertake restoration under EU regulations, but the majority of the sites are under private ownership.

The Faughan Valley LPS will employ a student on a one-year placement and enable him/her to gain hands on experience of how to conserve and restore ancient woodland.

The student will undertake desk top and field survey work to map and assess the condition of the PAWS resource in the Faughan Valley. In addition they will be tasked with producing a database of PAWS landowners and to support the Landscape Officer in making contact with these landowners to encourage them to undertake restoration of their PAWS resource. They will also work with a number of PAWS landowners to produce management plans for their sites.

The student placement will report directly to the Landscape Officer but will also benefit from a programme of mentoring and support from the Woodland Trust’s UK PAWS restoration team, through both formal and informal training and from others teams across the Trust.  Within the Trust there is a significant breadth and depth of in-house skills associated with all aspects of woodland conservation and the student placement will be able to draw on this knowledge and expertise. As a result WT is uniquely placed within the natural heritage sector to offer this type of heritage skills training.

Our target audience will be graduates aiming to work within the environmental conservation sector, local authority or community based posts that will link into the conservation and preservation of our natural heritage, and in particular ancient woodland. By targeting graduates who have an environmental related degree and who already have an interest in working with heritage we will reduce the risk of the student completing their placements and then moving out of the heritage sector.

Our project will support the trainees financially through the provision of bursary payments and in addition enable them to recover their travel and subsistence costs.

All trainees will undergo WT standard health and safety training covering aspects such as manual handling training; and receive a work station review to ensure their office set up creates a safe and healthy working environment.

By end of their placements the student will be much better equipped to seek employment within the heritage sector. As part of the development they will have benefitted from a formal personal development plan. Trainees will have also gained regional knowledge relevant to their roles and be perfectly placed to move into roles within other future HLF funded projects, within or outside of our organisation. They will also benefit from a reference from the WT, the leading name in UK woodland conservation which will open the door to other roles in the heritage sector.

Information will be compiled throughout the project and brought together in an evaluation report during its final stages. This document, which will assess the successes the project has had, will be disseminated to partners to enable them to gain from the lessons learnt.