Practical Countryside Skills Traineeship

8-week immersive residential traineeship

Kick start a career with nature, develop practical skills and gain insights into the natural world as you gain the experience you need to progress towards your dream job in the conservation sector.

Ambios is actively farming 130 acres of stunning countryside in the River Dart valley. Part of the farm – 50 acres of historic 18th Century parkland – is being rewilded, creating a rich and fertile natural environment for learning.  You’ll gain confidence in interpreting and working the countryside, plus all the key practical skills that employers need. 

We invite you to spend 8 weeks of winter with us on the farm.  Join our immersive residential traineeship, and gain core land management experience that will leave you with transferable skills for life.

Dates 2023: 9th January – 3rd March 

The Programme

This 8-week programme aims to offer you a rich and diverse learning experience, whilst equipping you with relevant skills, knowledge and increased confidence in nature. Your 8-week experience will involve:

Rewilding: Tree planting and protective livestock fencing; Care for wild-stock – the farm animals that are rewilding the site (Mangaltisa pigs, Belted Galloway herd); Gain knowledge and understanding of rewilding approach

Woodland Management: Hedge laying, coppicing, charcoal making; firewood harvesting and processing; creating dead wood habitat piles

Woodwork: make bird and bat boxes; learn how to use a lathe; learn green woodworking techniques

Nature Conservation Workshops: Winter Foraging; Bird ID and ringing; Camera Trapping; Plants ID

Organic vegetable gardening: Learn about composting and veg-bed preparation using permaculture principles; work in our polytunnel and winter vegetable harvesting; lifestyle experiences including fermenting and rural crafts

Community engagement, field trips and talks: Join local team tackling countryside tasks and develop teamwork skills; relevant evening talks and film screenings; visit nature reserves and important local habitats

Live and Work

Whilst with Ambios you will live and work with a team of motivated, like-minded people and staff, all with a keen interest in nature and wildlife with personal experiences and skills to share. You will be based at our rewilded farm which offers you a unique and inspirational learning environment. You will have your own bedroom in our cosy bunkhouse, as well as sharing communal living and training with people from the UK and abroad. You will eat wholesome food from the farm that you will help grow whilst with us, creating an absorbing experience where your time will be full. During your time with us and be encouraged to live sustainably, helping out in our organic vegetable garden and assisting with the day-to-day tasks of rural farm life.

Who is this for?

We operate an open recruitment and welcome applications from anyone.

This traineeship is perfect for…

  • Anyone needing practical countryside management skills to kick start their career
  • A recent graduate or career changer looking for experience of the reality of being outside in winter and gain better understanding of the conservation sector
  • Someone considering taking on land or a smallholding of their own, looking to improve their self sufficiency
  • Landowners looking to upskill and gain key land management experience

 

Outcomes

This experiential traineeship is rich in skills transfer and practical learning.  

Here among the stunning Sharpham Estate and right across the South Devon landscape, you’ll discover a rare chance to gain hands-on countryside, nature conservation and general land management experience.  

You’ll be joining an inspiring team of people who are taking practical steps to improve a valuable natural environment and creating a positive social effect.  

During your 8 weeks with us, you’ll gain a huge range of knowledge, skills, competence and experience including:

  • Different land management approaches, specifically
    • Rewilding
    • Targeted conservation farm management involving handling livestock 
    • Woodland management and habitat restoration
    • Horticulture/food growing including permaculture practices 
  • Emphasis on the emerging and exciting theory of rewilding from its inception to different applications across the world
  • Practical, applicable rural skills such as:
    • Confident species identification
    • Competent hands on habitat management (tree planting, fencing etc)
    • Countryside management techniques including hedge laying, chainsaw use
    • Self sufficiency including food preservation and cost saving healthy lifestyle choices
  • Access to an active network of contacts in the sector through the Devon Rewilding Network
  • A series of evening talks with inspirational practitioners
  • Improving or developing woodwork skills in traditional craft and conventional carpentry
  • Healthy living and learning about lifestyle choices such as  food fermenting and preserving, butchery and foraging
  • Confidence in public engagement and events, experience working with groups to help educate and inspire others both online and face to face.

On finishing, you’ll gain a completion certificate and we’ll work with you to find ways to use the skills and knowledge you’ve developed to support you long into your future.

The practical benefits are undeniable but through their time here, many people also report a sense of renewal, inspiration, hope, confidence and direction amid what can seem like an uncertain future.

Location

Lower Sharpham Farm, Ashprington, Totnes. TQ9 7DX.

Totnes is an alternative bohemian market town, with a strong independent feel and a recognised cafe culture. The Transition Town movement spawned from Totnes, and you will find inspirational courses and programmes that you can be part of whilst staying with us.

Totnes is a 10 minute bike ride from the farm along a picturesque cycle track.

Accommodation

Our ‘nature lodge’ has 8 single bedrooms with 2 toilet/shower rooms and a kitchen with a large comfortable lounge and woodstove. The accommodation is part of our working farm, managed for biodiversity and learning. It is comfortable and sits amongst the trees, hedgerows and spectacular views to the River Dart and is surrounded by idyllic countryside. This is a secure and tranquil place for relaxing. All meals are provided from local produce (direct from our farm where possible) and special dietary requirements can be accommodated. Free Wi‐Fi is available within our yurt training space.

Travel and Logistics

We can collect you from Totnes Railway Station (4 miles from the farm) on your day of arrival. Alternatively, you can make your own way from the station or direct by car to TQ9 7DX.

Directions by car from Totnes

Directions by foot/bike along the traffic-free cycle track from Totnes

How to Apply

We are now taking applications for our January 2023 placement.

To apply:

1. Please complete this application form and email jackskuse@ambios.net to let him know you have applied.

2. We will get in touch to schedule an informal phone call.

3.  If we think we’ll be a good fit for your needs, we’ll offer you a place which can be secured by paying a £250 non-refundable deposit.

If you have any further questions, please fill out the contact form below. We may also send you updates from time to time about our other Ambios courses. You can opt out of this service at any time by emailing info@ambios.net.

Fees and Making Payment

Once Ambios has accepted your application for the 8-week Practical Countryside Skills traineeship, you will receive an invoice for a £250 non-refundable deposit needed to secure you space (payable within 30 days of receipt).

The cost of the course is currently £2750 (minus the £250 non-refundable deposit). This is a full-board, residential training course, inclusive of accommodation, food, training, and field trips.

Payment is taken in 3 instalments:

  • A pre-placement deposit of £250 (non-refundable) 
  • A mid-placement payment of £1250 *
  • A payment on completion of £1250

*Total remaining balance can be paid in full if preferred

Find our Cancellation Policy here