Valley Futures

Offers young people the opportunity to learn practical and rural management skills whilst undertaking an apprenticeship in Environmental Conservation

The Valley Futures Apprenticeship programme offers young people the opportunity to learn practical and rural management skills whilst undertaking an apprenticeship in Environmental Conservation. Up to ten apprentices will receive training in a range of landscape management skills such as coppicing, Cumbrian hedge laying and dry stone walling. Together with volunteers, they will work alongside, and gain knowledge from, a variety of experts from across the Partnership. They will carry out landscape conservation work in the scheme area by delivering the practical outcomes for the scheme.

The eighteen month programme offers a fantastic opportunity to enable young people to develop vital practical skills and knowledge essential for pursuing a career in the rural sector, becoming part of a team dedicated to restore and protect the landscape of the Rusland Horizons scheme area.

Our apprentices are now well under way with their apprenticeship and have been out in the scheme area undertaking a wide variety of practical conservation projects with project partners.

Take a look at our landscape conservation map to see where the apprentices have been working.

View map

So far so good...

Update January 2018:..

  • Four new apprentices have  begun their placement, alongside the 6 round-one apprentices
  • The new apprentices are being trained in a wide range of skills including first aid, use of chainsaws, abrasive wheels and brushcutters, and coppicing, with other training scheduled throughout the spring and summer
  • Waymarking completed for the two Greenwood Trails established so far, 2 sleeper bridges built and 4 gates repaired/installed.
  • 4 woodlands improved by the apprentices as part of the Coupes and Cords project.
  • 700 metres of boardwalk built at Rusland Moss as part of the Greenwood Trails project, and work almost complete on 2 Greenwood Trails
  • more than 100 metres of hedge  laid.
  • more than 50 metres of walls repaired.

Did you know?

54% of staff employed in the rural sector are aged 45 and over. As these people reach retirement age and as the sector grows, the sector could need 595,000 new entrants by 2020 to address the growing skills gap.


  • Watch (2 videos)

    Valley Futures

    Recruitment video for Valley Futures apprenticeship programme February 2016

    Day in the Life of an Apprentice

    Watch the Rusland Horizons apprentices carry out woodland restoration work.

Project Lead

Rusland Horizons Staff Team

The Challenge

The character of the Rusland Horizons area is made up of a variety of habitats and features including woodlands, hedgerows, dry stone walls, open fell, archaeological sites and pathways. All of these need careful management by a skilled workforce if the landscape character is to be retained, but there is an increasing shortage of skilled practitioners, matched with limited opportunities to gain these skills. Young people are leaving the area to find training and employment elsewhere.

Our Approach

We are working in partnership with Askham Bryan College, Newton Rigg to deliver an industry-based apprenticeship in Environmental Conservation. We have created ten level 2 and two level 3 placements. The apprenticeships will enable young people to learn important traditional skills alongside modern techniques and equip them with the right skills portfolio to pursue a career in the rural sector.

© Rusland Horizons 2017 - 2019. All rights reserved.
Rusland Horizons is a Landscape Partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund