Billy joined the Our Bright Future Level 1 programme through school giving a hundred percent each time he came along and really enjoying working in the outdoors. He tried out different activities including path maintenance, invasive species removal and learning about tree id! He also enjoyed working with and increasingly supporting the regular volunteers and meeting new people that visited Falkland Estate.

His interest in a possible career in the sector developed and having started volunteering regularly Billy decided to go for one of the Level 2 apprenticeships in Rural Skills, Estate Maintenance. The Rural Skills Modern Apprenticeship fitted well as he wanted to learn about a wide range of activities and to do this he was based at one of the partners sites at The Ecology Centre by Kinghorn Loch.

Each day we’d make sure the site was ready for visitors and safe for them and the local wildlife. We would do litter picks to remove anything dangerous to the ducks and swans along the loch side as well as path checks and checking for trees that may have come down in the wind.

Over the course of the apprenticeship Billy completed the level 2 element whilst also developing his IT skills as he typed up the various tasks sheets needed to show what he’d done. He also gained accredited training certificates including First Aid, IOSH, Lantra brushcutter and trimmer, NPTC chainsaw maintenance, crosscutting and felling (up to 380mm) and drystone walling that he could then put into use on site.

Strimming, grass cutting, planting out a wild flower meadow, building a greenhouse and plumbing in a mud kitchen were just some of the other jobs that Billy turned his hand to. He also took the opportunity to work closely with a group of supported volunteers who’s joined the apprentices on site each week. Helping them with the jobs they had chosen to do that day.

Working with the volunteers was really good fun, and as I learnt more I could help them more. Meeting them and new people on site has helped develop my confidence too. Overall I’ve really enjoyed the apprenticeship its been good working outdoors and learning at the same time. I’ve decided that I’d like to work on larger plant machinery and that’s what I hope to go on to do.