Conservation Farming Voluntary Trainee

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Stirley Community Farm, near Huddersfield

Volunteer • Part Time Volunteering Development Team

Sectors: food, farming & horticulture, conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Wednesday, 28th February 2018   5 days left

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is creating a county rich in wildlife for everyone. From our sparkling coastal beaches to buzzing woodlands and hillsides, Yorkshire is overflowing with incredible wildlife that we’re protecting and helping people to discover every day.

Our voluntary traineeships have been the first step of so many conservation careers and provide fantastic experience with specific development opportunities for anyone aiming to start a career in conservation. We’re offering a 12 month voluntary traineeship at our Stirley Community Farm with our Farm Conservation team. This part-time voluntary role will be for 3 days per week (9am-5pm) with occasional opportunities for weekend and evening tasks. Full training is provided (see below) with travel expenses and a training budget too.

Where will you be?

Stirley Community Farm is nestled in the West Yorkshire hills surrounded by beautiful stone walls and historic agriculture and industry. Our team have to be both farmers and conservationists and it’s their job to show how farming and nature can flourish together.

A few miles from Huddersfield our farm shows how agriculture and conservation can go hand in hand. Our growing herd of holistically reared shorthorn beef cattle enjoy the green hills around them while elsewhere on the farm we are restoring wildflower meadows across the landscape. All the normal farming tasks are still there (fencing, mucking out, feeding, calving) but it’s all done with an eye to protecting and nurturing the natural world too, and making it work for the farm rather than against it.

What will you do?

In this voluntary traineeship you will be part of our Farm Conservation team who are responsible for land manage of the site and animal husbandry for our 50 strong herd of beef cattle. You’ll get the chance to be involved in all aspects of farming whether it’s up in the night with new calves, hay making, wildflower harvesting or keep track of stock and fencing on spreadsheets in the office (it’s not all muddy wellies you know!).

Land management:

  • Fencing new areas of site ready for grazing later in the year
  • Hay making and tractor driving (after training)
  • Wildflower harvest and re-seeding
  • Removing species such as docks from field
  • Dry stone walling
  • Working with, and leading, other volunteers on our regular task days
  • Leading surveys of wildlife on site and coordinating volunteer surveyors

Animals Husbandry:

  • Livestock checking (in barn and field)
  • Assisting with calving
  • Mucking out barn and feeding cattle during the winter
  • Moving livestock when necessary around the site
  • Assisting with regular vet visits and necessary treatments such as weighing cattle

Office Management:

  • Creating site management plans and using specific software to track progress
  • Research on current best practice for farm and animal management
  • Mapping and surveying infrastructure on site
  • Farm impact assessments and grant tracking

What will you gain?

This voluntary role aims to provide all the experience needed to pursue a career in conservation farming but will also be useful if you pursue roles in reserve or project management or general agriculture roles.

We want your time with us to be as useful as possible so as well as tons of hands-on experience outside and in the office we offer a wide range of development opportunities for our voluntary trainees. During your traineeship you will get:

  • A deep knowledge of working with cattle and best practice for animal husbandry
  • Experience of land management tasks such as fencing and tractor driving
  • Experience of all the essential farm administration tasks that go with outdoor work
  • Understanding of how farming and conservation can be beneficial to each other
  • A training and development plan to help you identify what skills you want to gain and how
  • Regular development and support meetings with your volunteer manager
  • Review sessions throughout your traineeship with the Volunteering Development Team
  • Experience of working in a team and in an office
  • Experience of volunteer management
  • Access to our internal (and free) Volunteer Training Programme with sessions ranging from hedge laying to environmental law to bush craft skills
  • A competitive training budget for external training
  • Travel expenses
  • Training in first aid, membership recruitment, data protection, health and safety, safeguarding, manual handling, risk assessments and budgets

You’ll also be working from our west regional office and so will have the opportunity to meet and work with staff and volunteers who are looking after nature reserves, restoring rivers and connecting communities with nature. There will be many wider opportunities to gain experience with teams across Yorkshire Wildlife Trust during your traineeship.

What do you need?

Our trainees come with a wide variety of experiences already. Some come to us straight from education, others are looking for a change of career or to start a new chapter in their lives. The most important thing is a desire and willingness to learn.

The things we’re looking for in this role are:

  • Enthusiasm for conservation and a passion for wildlife
  • IT literate, Word, Excel and Databases
  • Interest in survey and monitoring
  • A strong desire to learn about farm conservation and working practices
  • Able to use own initiative
  • Friendly and courteous
  • Fit and able to undertake practical farm tasks
  • Willing to work outdoors in all weathers, including some evenings and weekends.
  • Ability to work well in a team and with a wide range of individuals and groups.

It would be amazing if you also came to us with some of these:

  • Knowledge of nature conservation
  • Knowledge of farming practices
  • Understanding of basic agricultural machinery
  • Experience of working with livestock

Full details (including application forms) can be found on our website

Application should be emailed to by 5pm on the 28th February. Interviews (following shortlisting) will be on the 5th March.

Please mention when responding to this ad.