Lisburn man finishes year at Ulster Wildlife

Michael Close from Lisburn is congratulated by Sheila Lyons from Ulster Wildlife and Paula Smyth from Lantra having successfully completed a year-long Nature Skills traineeship with local nature conservation charity Ulster Wildlife.

Michael Close from Lisburn is congratulated by Sheila Lyons from Ulster Wildlife and Paula Smyth from Lantra having successfully completed a year-long Nature Skills traineeship with local nature conservation charity Ulster Wildlife.

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A Lisburn man is celebrating his success having completed the first year-long, paid Nature Skills traineeship with local nature conservation charity, Ulster Wildlife.

Michael Close was able to complete his traineeship thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Skills for the Future Programme’,

Throughout his action-packed year Michael, alongside four other trainees, gained a wide range of specialist skills and training required for a future career protecting our natural heritage, from hedge-laying and controlling invasive species to coastal monitoring.

The trainees also learnt to survey local wildlife from basking sharks and birds to butterflies, and helped to inspire people of all ages about nature on their doorstep, from leading snorkel safaris and nature walks to education workshops in local schools.

As well as receiving training and mentoring in-house, the trainees undertook certified training courses, workshops with leading nature experts and work placements with other natural heritage organisations, whilst achieving a new Lantra accreditation in Natural Heritage Skills.

“This traineeship with Ulster Wildlife has been fantastic,” said Michael.

“Throughout the year, not only did I gain new skills and receive accredited training, but I also obtained a bursary from Heritage Lottery Fund which helped to cover my living costs.

“Coming from mainly a youth work background it’s been a complete career changer for me, but ultimately it has helped to merge two of my life-long passions: helping young people experience nature.

The traineeship has been a great springboard for a career in nature conservation which I am extremely grateful and I’m really excited about my future,” he said. Ulster Wildlife’s Nature Skills traineeships are running for three years, until the end of 2017, with 18 trainees given the opportunity to undertake a paid training placement. Recruitment for the final year will begin in mid-2016.

For more information, visit www.ulsterwildlife.org/nature-skills<http://www.ulsterwildlife.org/nature-skills>.