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Kickstarting careers in River Conservation

Three young people are beginning careers in conservation after successfully completing their Kickstart training with Ribble Rivers Trust.

David Bevis, Bethany Ryan and Jay Malpas all aspired to careers in conservation but found opportunities few and far between.

However, they were recruited by RRT under the government’s Kickstart scheme, launched in response to an expected surge in youth unemployment resulting from the pandemic, and haven’t looked back.

They joined RRT’s Health & Environmental Action Lancashire (HEAL) project, funded by the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, and bosses were so impressed by their work during their six-month placements that they’ve all been offered roles at the charity.

During their placements, Bethany, Jay and David planted trees, tackled invasive species including Himalayan balsam, helped to clean rivers, and maintain RRT projects alongside the Trust team and river conservation trainees working with Robert Cooper who leads the conservation volunteer sessions.

“The Kickstart scheme has been an important part of our Green Recovery Challenge funded programme, helping us to create jobs for young people keen to get into conservation,” said RRT’s deputy chief executive, Harvey Hamilton-Thorpe.

“Ribble Rivers Trust is growing and developing, and it’s been great to offer opportunities for people to develop new skills and gain work experience. This also gives us the chance to showcase ourselves as a good place to work and make a difference for our environment and the communities.

We are really happy with our three recruits who’ve brought spades of enthusiasm, amazing ideas and are a valuable part of the team.”

David, 23, from Burnley, is now volunteer supervisor; Bethany,22, from Lancaster, has joined the woodland team; and Jay, 24, from Newport, is spending the summer working on RRT’s annual electro-fishing monitoring programme.

David, who is an ecology graduate, said: “To come straight out of university and get a job is very lucky and being from Burnley, it’s very rewarding to be part of something that benefits the area.”