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Kickstarting a Ranger career!

29th July 2021

World Ranger Day – Sunday 31st July

With a dedicated Cairngorms National Park Ranger Service, there has never been so many rangers on patrol here, providing a warm welcome to visitors and supporting everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors.

Among the band of men and women carrying out patrols this summer in the Park are four young people who have been given a start in this type of career through the UK Government’s Kickstart programme, providing funding for employers to create job placements and training opportunities for young adults aged 18 – 24. The finance was secured through a collective UK National Parks bid.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority has been able to employ four Kickstart Rangers for 2021 through the programme – Conor McBrien (18), Scott Hastings (22), Max Pillings (22) and Danny O’Brien (23).

Starting their ranger training back in the Spring, the quartet have been learning a wide variety of new skills, learning from very experienced Park rangers such as Polly Freeman. She said: “It is great to be working with Max, Conor, Danny and Scott – they are really enthusiastic and all the ranger team here at the Cairngorms National Park are delighted to be able to help these young people get a start in this type of career.”

Trainee ranger, Danny O’Brien from the Black Isle commented: “I have always enjoyed studying nature and was doing some volunteer biological recording, so when I saw this opportunity I jumped at the chance. I am hoping that the experience stands me in good stead for an environmental, land based job in the future.”

Fellow trainee, Scott Hastings from Grantown-on-Spey added: “Having done a forestry course at Inverness College I see this as a great opportunity to gain more experience and explore more options for a career in the outdoors.”

Similarly, Conor McBrien from Dunfermline never saw himself in an office job: “I have always enjoyed being in nature and I am definitely not a ‘9 to 5’ person so I was really happy to get this role as a trainee ranger. I am having a lot of fun.”

For Max Pillings, originally from Cambridgeshire, a holiday to the Cairngorms National Park in 2011 sparked a passion for the area: “I have always seen my future in the outdoors working in environmental conservation, the wildlife of the area fascinates me and I am keen to learn more.”

With several weeks of training now under their belts – and an influx of visitors to the Park with the holidays in full swing – the Kickstart rangers are now experiencing the challenges of ensuring visitors stay safe while respecting the Park’s wildlife, habitats and communities.

The Cairngorms National Park has thirteen ranger services caring for and protecting the Park for future generations with these rangers employed by a variety of organisations including local authorities, private estates, charitable trusts, etc, grant aided by the CNPA.

A dedicated National Park service also exists to support those services, with rangers patrolling key sites across the Park

We are introducing our four Cairngorms National Park Kickstart Rangers to mark World Ranger Day on Sunday 31st July 2021.