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Training, Training, Training!

15th August 2006

CNPA outlines commitment to supporting good training opportunities in National Park

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is looking at ways of supporting vocational training for young people in the Park and expanding a training scheme, which was initially set up to help the land based sector.

At the CNPA’s board meeting in Grantown on Friday (11 August) members agreed to progress a range of actions to improve vocational training support for young people, as well as increase funding for the Land Based Business Training Project for 2007, to allow the project to continue and to expand its focus.

The Park Authority has been working with partners for over a year, looking at ways of establishing a vocational training scheme for young people in the Park. The CNPA’s role to help economic and social development in the Park means that good educational and training opportunities are essential, helping to retain young people in the area and supporting local businesses.

The National Park offers a wide range of employment options from outdoor leisure, tourism and conservation management to agriculture and manufacturing as well as the more traditional trades.

The CNPA and partners – including Local Enterprise Companies, Careers Scotland, local authorities, Cairngorms Chamber of Commerce and so on – will now progress a package of actions aimed at establishing a formal vocational training support structure. Measures are set to include bursaries where other financial support is not available; support for businesses to encourage employers to provide work placements; increasing awareness of vocational career paths in schools and the introduction of a Park Skills Passport

Claire Ross, the CNPA’s Education and Social Inclusion Manager said: “The types of vocational training that will be supported by this package of proposals will be those employment opportunities and skills that are closely linked with the four aims of the Park.

“We want to retain more young people in the Park by helping build careers based on multiple jobs and multi-skilling and this will help address the seasonality of some jobs in the area. It will also help deal with some of the barriers to businesses and trainees in vocational training.”

Meanwhile, the Land Based Business Training Project is set to continue and to expand after the CNPA board agreed to additional funding for the project for 2007.

Funding from the European Social Fund for the Land Based Business Training Project finishes at the end of this year (December 2006) and new funding arrangements for the project are unlikely to be progressed until 2008.

The CNPA board were faced with the decision to end the project completely or provide ‘stop gap’ funding for 2007 to allow the project to continue. This crossroads for the project also presented board and staff with an opportunity to increase the level of financial support for the project and pilot a new strand, ‘Public Benefits for All’.

The Land Based Business Training Project was initially set up to encourage all those working on estates, farms, crofts, nurseries, woodlands or those working in the outdoor recreation sector to take up more training opportunities, which are part or fully funded through the scheme.

Part-funded training courses cover a wide range of needs including the use and maintenance of machinery, equipment and vehicles; environmental courses; IT and business skills and health and safety. In addition, training that provides public benefits – for example, habitat management, countryside risk management or training in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code – are fully funded by the programme.

Kate Christie, the CNPA’s Land Based Business Training Project Manager told board members that the project had been extremely successful and had received considerable praise.

“The project has been recognised as an example of national best practice in the Forward Scotland report of 2005 on ‘Skills, Training and Recruitment in Rural Natural Heritage Organisations’.

“This makes this project a role model and there is potential to expand the focus of it beyond the land based business sector. Many of the public benefit courses for example are of real interest to the general public and those working with visitors.

“In expanding the project we would envisage more training aimed at helping deliver the four aims of the Park and providing public benefits. This area of work also clearly links closely with the vocational training scheme for young people in the Park.”

The board agreed that the Land Based Business Training Project would continue in 2007, and for a period of one year, would be expanded to pilot a new ‘Public Benefits for All’ strand to the project. As a result the CNPA has pledged an additional £54,213 to the project on top of the £32,147 already committed. However, this financial commitment is subject to the project team securing additional funding from other sources.

A paper on the future of the Land Based Business Training Project beyond 2007 will be presented to the board next year when the newly piloted area of work can be fully assessed.

All of the board papers from Friday’s meeting can be accessed in full at: