Developing Rural Skills at the Centre for Stewardship

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The Centre for Stewardship based on Falkland Estate, Fife are passionate about developing young people’s skills in the rural sector to enable them to develop, care and manage their local landscape and environment. They also appreciate the health benefit for people from just being and working in the outdoors. The centre runs a range of learning programs around its key themes of wood, food and craft.

The Centre runs an innovative and exciting partnership programme - the Our Bright Future programme. It is designed to help young people aged 15-24 to develop skills in the rural sector to enable them to care for and manage their local landscape and environment. The programme is currently running until 2020 and offers three different levels of activity from the base in Falkland as well as at partnership sites such as The Ecology Centre in Kinghorn, Cambo Estate near Kingsbarns and Silverburn Park in Leven.

The first level targets 15-18 year olds who spend six sessions working on a specific project in the outdoors such as gardening, conservation or basic woodworking.

“I really look forward to working here, sometimes it’s hard at home and I get angry and frustrated! I come here and working outside on this project helps me. It makes my week better” - Level one participant.

Level 2 offers a range of Modern Apprenticeships to unemployed 16-24 year olds. Individuals spend six weeks on a Rural Skills Academy where they gain skills, work experience and accredited training such as brushcutter and trimmer and First Aid.

I’m just completing a level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in Rural Skills which is enabling me to demonstrate all the different things I have learnt to do from working machinery like stihl saws to structural components and maintaining paths and surfaces. This will give me my first formal qualification and some accredited tickets and a real job” - Rob, Modern Apprentice.

Level 3 introduces the idea of self-employment in the rural sector for young people and for those who have an idea help them explore and develop it. Participants can be enrolled on the WoodWorks programme where they receive individual support and guidance as they begin to set up their own businesses in the rural sector.

“WoodWorks has given me the opportunity to set up a successful small enterprise delivering wood whittling workshops across Edinburgh, the Borders and Fife. There is no doubt I would not have had the confidence to do this without the support of the WoodWorks program.” - Lotte, WoodWorks participant.

The Our Bright Future programme at the Centre for Stewardship is an innovative and exciting partnership program that helps young people develop skills in the rural sector that they can take forward with them into employment, providing them with hope for a bright future.