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Apprentice rangers

Apprentice rangers

Lead Partner

New Forest National Park Authority

Funding from the Green and Blue Horizons Fund enabled two more apprentice rangers to start in 2022.

What is it about?

From carrying out conservation work and wildlife surveys, to assisting with public events and looking after country parks and nature reserves, our eight trainee rangers have experienced action-packed apprenticeships. 

Each year-long, paid environmental conservation apprenticeship has involved working with the NPA as well as partners Forestry England, the National Trust, Hampshire County Council, RSPB and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. 

The apprentices received a variety of countryside management experiences with each of the partner ranger teams, and attended Kingston Maurward College in Dorchester, gaining a Countryside Worker qualification as well as certificates in chainsaw operations, brushcutters and strimmers and first aid. 

NPA Lead Ranger Gillie Molland said: ‘I am immensely proud of the achievements of the apprentice rangers. It has been fantastic to see each person grow and develop as they have progressed through their apprenticeships. Ours is, as far as I know, a unique project because of the partnership approach to the work experience gained. I am very grateful to each of the partner ranger teams for hosting the apprentices and passing on such a wealth of experience and knowledge from habitat management and species surveying to public engagement and event delivery. I have learned lots myself over the past six years and I am excited and hopeful we can develop plans to continue this opportunity into the future.’ 

Our apprentices have gone on to work in a range of roles within the New Forest or environmental conservation sector, including an assistant ranger at Lepe Country Park, groundsperson for the New Forest and Hampshire County Show, trainee wildlife ranger for Forestry England and seasonal ranger for the New Forest National Park Authority. 

What will I do as part of the apprenticeship?
  • Attend college sessions
  • Carry out practical conservation work
  • Teach groups about the New Forest
  • Undertake wildlife surveys
  • Assist with public events and activity sessions
  • Look after country parks, nature reserves and countryside sites
  • Undertake office work
  • Work outdoors in all weather!
What qualifications will I get?

You will get the following essential qualifications:

  • Level 2 Countryside Worker Diploma
  • NPTC Chainsaw Certificate – maintenance, cross-cut and felling
  • NPTC Brushcutters and Strimmers certificate
  • Emergency First Aid certificate.
What else will I gain?

Alongside formal qualifications, this apprenticeship will give you:

  • Experience of working with six New Forest Ranger teams
  • On the job experience in a supportive knowledge-sharing environment
  • Increased confidence
  • Experience of working with volunteers and the public.
When will I work?

This is a full-time role for 37 hours per week, mainly Monday to Friday, but there is a requirement to work some weekends and bank holidays, especially during the summer season. The working day will usually be between 8.30am and 5pm.

You will move from one New Forest organisation to the next spending up to three months with each of the Ranger teams learning about the work they do and their unique responsibilities. You will need a driving licence to drive the dedicated vehicle.

Where and when will I go to college?

Learning sessions will be delivered by Sparsholt College and take place in seven, one-week blocks during the first 12 months of the apprenticeship.

Don’t just take our word for it

This is an amazingly unique opportunity to get experience working with different organisations and people to see how each one works and the roles they play in wildlife conservation in the New Forest. Here’s what some of our previous and current apprentices have to say:

Alistair Poxon, New Forest Apprentice Ranger 2022/23.

Read Alistair’s blog post.

James Masser, New Forest Apprentice Ranger 2022/23.

Read James’s blog post.

Ben Attwell, New Forest Apprentice Ranger 2021/22, said: ‘I would like to work in a green job in the future, so learning more about wildlife identification and habitat management, adding to my practical qualifications and engaging with the public are all skills that have set me up for my next job.’

Read Ben’s blog post.

Jake Leigh, New Forest Apprentice Ranger 2019/20, said: ‘This has been an amazing experience, not only do we gain a lot of practical qualifications and experiences, but we also get to work with some brilliant teams with years of combined knowledge and experience.’

Beck Sheehan, New Forest Apprentice Ranger 2019/20, said: ‘The apprenticeship has given me the chance to gain so many valuable skills while working in a beautifully unique area and alongside some incredible people. I’ve made so many memories and invaluable connections.’

Katherine Argyrou, New Forest Apprentice Ranger 2016/17, said: ‘I’ve never come across an apprenticeship that is so varied in what it offers. I could go from burning up that devil-some rhododendron on huge bonfires to assisting at a toddler toddle event. Each day is different; you never get bored.’ 

Pete Dovey, New Forest Apprentice Ranger 2017/18, said: ‘I’m thoroughly enjoying this unique apprentice opportunity. It’s great to learn how diverse and intricate the environment is.’ 

Marty Meaker, New Forest Apprentice Ranger 2017/18, said: ‘It’s great to put back in what I have taken from the Forest, I am loving the whole journey and looking forward to where I will end up!’ Marty successfully completed his apprenticeship with us in 2018 and was awarded best Intermediate Environmental Conservation Apprentice and Best Apprentice of the Year 2018 by Kingston Maurward College.

Sounds great! How do I apply?

All the details can be found on our jobs page.

We are currently looking at ways to extend this successful apprenticeship so follow us on social media or sign up to our email newsletter to ensure you don’t miss out on upcoming opportunities.

@newforestnpa               @newforestranger

Who can I contact if I have any queries?

Please don’t hesitate to contact Gillie Molland, Lead Ranger at the New Forest National Park Authority.

Tel: 01590 646682 email:

A number of partners in this pilot are considering launching apprenticeships in the future and it is hoped that this will be used to evaluate the viability for this.

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