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Meet our new Apprentice Rangers

We have welcomed two Apprentice Rangers into our existing ranger team. Katherine Argyrou, aged 21, and Joe Ison, aged 18, are the first Apprentice Rangers to be hired and beat off stiff competition from 44 other applicants.

The apprenticeships are part of a Heritage Lottery Funded landscape partnership scheme called Our Past, Our Future, led by the New Forest National Park Authority and 10 key partners. The National Park Authority is working with the Forestry Commission, National Trust, Hampshire County Council and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to offer two Environmental Conservation apprenticeships per year over four years. Find out more about the rangers here.

Katherine and Joe have started their initial training and inductions, and began their placement with the National Trust in early November. We caught up with them to find out how they felt about their exciting new positions.


What were you doing before you started working as an Apprentice Ranger?

Katherine: Before I started work as an Apprentice Ranger I was volunteering for the National Trust, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Brighton Conservation Volunteers and various district and county councils gaining experience and skills in order to become a ranger. As those roles were voluntary, I worked on a part time basis in hotels, cafes, as a cleaner and as a community care worker.

Joe: Before becoming an Apprentice Ranger I was working as a warehouse assistant at Specialist Sports in Lymington. Although it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term, it was a great opportunity to learn important skills.

Why did you apply to become an Apprentice Ranger?

Katherine: I absolutely love nature, wildlife and being outdoors in the fresh air. It’s where I’m happiest and I feel a deep connection to the environment. The New Forest is a unique, special and rare place due to its many varied habitats, cultural heritage, historical past and practices, so the chance to actually be able to work here is really exciting. Also, the structure of the apprenticeship is brilliant as we get to work with lots of different organisations, charities and people. This will really help me learn more as they will be able to share a vast array of knowledge and expertise with us.

Joe: I have always lived in the New Forest and love where I live. I’m interested in learning how to preserve the beauty of the area for its wildlife and future generations. I’m looking forward to learning from all the different organisations and seeing the various ways they help protect and preserve this fantastic landscape.

What are you hoping to achieve or learn from your apprenticeship?

Katherine: I hope to learn more about wildlife and the environment whilst gaining qualifications and professional training, which will help me to get a paid job later on. I also hope to learn more about why we carry out certain management practices and develop my leadership skills.

Joe: Becoming a New Forest Apprentice Ranger is a wonderful opportunity to learn a variety of new skills from experts in different fields and to experience a wide range of jobs within the New Forest.

What would you like to do after the apprenticeship?

Katherine: Looking to the future, I know that my dream is and has been for a long time to be a Ranger. This apprenticeship is the first step towards that as it provides the experience and qualifications to start that career path.

Joe: I hope to pursue a career within the New Forest and develop my skills and knowledge so that I can make a valuable contribution to the National Park. The skills and experience I will gain from this apprenticeship is a great start towards my long term goal.

What are you most looking forward to?

Katherine: I’m looking forward to each new day as they are so varied, which makes it interesting and enjoyable. However, I am most looking forward to the practical habitat management side of things and being out there seeing and learning about unique, interesting and amazing wildlife.

Joe: I feel very privileged to have been chosen for the apprenticeship and I’m very excited about the experiences and qualifications I will gain over the next year. It’s a wonderful opportunity and I plan to make the most of it.

Find out more about the Apprentice Rangers here.

This entry was posted by Communications on Wednesday 30/11/2016

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