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Natural Talent Traineeships

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The Natural Talent UK traineeship programme aims to increase expertise across the whole of the UK to protect our less well known species and create awareness of the habitats that support them.  Thanks to funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, this UK-wide scheme follows on from the very successful Natural Talent Apprenticeship programme that has delivered 44 apprenticeships since 2006 and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Both programmes respond to identified skills shortages in the conservation sector by providing trainees with the opportunity to develop an expertise in a specific taxonomic group, habitat or a mixture of both. Natural Talent UK is also increasing the capacity of volunteers and communities to play an active role in surveying, mapping and taking an action to increase the biodiversity of their local places.

This ground-breaking TCV programme has built upon the existing partnerships that TCV has across the UK whilst also working with new partners to explore new areas of study. 

"At RBGE, we have found that Natural Talent UK is effective in supporting exceptional individuals who go on to make a fundamental difference to our understanding of the natural world, and can effectively communicate the importance of nature to society."  Dr Chris Ellis, RBGE

As a result they developed an exciting mix of opportunities for 2015/16.  The 12 month placements provide each trainee with a bursary of £12,510 as well as a training, travel and an equipment budget.

John McFarlane, TCV Environment Development Officer, said: "We are delighted to operate the Natural Talent UK traineeship scheme and help to train the next generation of naturalists. There is a recognised gap in expertise that threatens many of the UK’s less well known species. TCV’s Natural Talent UK programme aims to change this by giving individuals the opportunity to learn about some wonderful and less well known species and their habitats.”

The placements for 2015 were as follows, click to read the Trainee's case studies;

The placements for 2016 are:

  • Rebecca Cairns is based with the Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) in Edinburgh. Rebecca is primarily learning how to identify aphids which are vectors (carriers) of plant viruses, some of which can seriously damage seed otatoes which are an important part of Scottish agriculture.
  • Katherine Whyte is based at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh and is working on increasing the knowledge and awareness of conservation efforts of saline lagoons, which are a relatively understudied habitat found around our coastlines.

You can read more about what its like to be an apprentice on our Blogs, and you can follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.


If you’d like to find out more about the Natural Talent programme, contact:

John McFarlane, Environment Development Officer

TCV Scotland
Balallan House
24 Allan Park

Tel: 01786 476182
Mobile: 07739 447943