Cornwall will be home to the UK’s first ever ecological postgraduate degree apprentices with the launch of a new course by The Cornwall College Group (TCCG).
The unique opportunity to secure a master’s degree in ecological restoration, and specialise in one of three ecological subjects while working full-time, has been added to the environmental and conservation courses on offer at Eden Project Learning – a partnership between the world-famous attraction and TCCG.
Head of Eden Project Learning, Dr Mark Nason, commented: “This is a UK first and an incredible opportunity for students. The course has been designed in direct response to the demand seen from within the sector.
“The country needs more trained ecologists and apprenticeships offer one of the best ways to get a qualification in such a hands-on industry – students can earn whilst they learn, and employers will help create experts in the field while being seen to have a strong commitment to this vital sector.”
Dr Nason added: “A recent report from a committee of MPs said that a severe shortage of trained ecologists is hampering efforts by local governments to oversee biodiversity policies, with the committee recommending investment in training and skills as part of the government’s plans for green jobs.
“We’re incredibly proud as a college to be positioning ourselves at the forefront of environmental education with a huge variety of courses covering biodiversity, conservation, ecology and sustainable agriculture.
“And as the career college, our main aim is to get our students into meaningful jobs where they can make a lasting difference once they complete their studies with this – this apprenticeship is an excellent example of how we are achieving this.”
The ‘blended’ nature of the level 7 ecologist apprenticeship being delivered by TCCG, which will see weekly virtual lessons and four five-day residentials at The Eden Project over two years, means that any business in the country could take part by hiring a new apprentice.
The course was created by a ‘trailblazer group’, which brought together 10 employers to combine expertise from the ecology industry and involved leading voices from Natural England, the Environment Agency, Greenspace Ecological Solutions, Middlemarch Environmental and others.
Three different routes are being offered as part of the scheme with apprentices choosing to study as an ecological consultant, ecological scientist or a landscape ecologist.
The addition of the apprenticeship comes as The Cornwall College Group reported a record rise in students applying for courses starting in September and after a largescale investment in the student experience and facilities.
Source: The Cornwall College Group