Our Bright Future, Falklands Stewardship Trust

Our Bright Future, Falklands Stewardship Trust

The Fund gave a grant to the Falklands Stewardship Trust, to support their Our Bright Future programme in January 2017. The programme helps young people to enter a career in agriculture or countryside stewardship by offering training and support. We spoke to Jess Cassidy who has recently taken part in the programme:

Jess joined the Our Bright Future programme via an Accessible Fife Academy.  This Academy was a pilot partnership project designed specifically to engage with young people in Fife affected by mental health, long-term illness or disability with a view to them moving into a Modern Apprenticeship position. Jess told us that “before Our Bright Future I was unemployed due to mental health challenges and was unsure of what I was going to do next and how.” 

Jess had never really considered working outdoors and actually started at the Academy with the plan of applying for an office-based Business Modern Apprenticeship. The Academy allowed the young people to try out different work placements and after spending time on Cambo Estate Jess fell in love with the piglets, the gardens and the sense of well-being she got from working outdoors.  Jess went on to apply and secure her place as a Modern Apprentice in Horticulture with the Our Bright Future programme.

Jess brought an enthusiasm and willingness to learn to her apprenticeship, achieving her level 2 qualification and gaining many industry recognised tickets as well as lots of practical work experience along the way.  She also took advantage of the variety of opportunity available to her through the Apprenticeship model being offered in Fife.

As part of this she learned how to use a chainsaw, and this is when her love of forestry began to blossom. Having completed her basic chainsaw and cross cutting qualification she consolidated her skills on the Falkland Estate joining the Trees and Timber Apprentices based there.  She then went on to train for and pass her tree climbing and aerial rescue tickets.  This then put her in a strong position both to continue in a role in horticulture or transition over into arborist work, which is where her passion now lay.

"A lot of employability schemes want you to have a job no matter what, disregarding what you like and actually want your career path to be. The team listened to what my career goals were, once I decided that the rural sector was the place for me, and supported me both mentally and financially to get there.”

“Before joining the programme I would never have thought to go down the forestry career path, the programme opened doors I needed to make it possible and I’m so happy that I’ve found my calling.  Here I am now, Fife Councils Lead Operative Specialist Arborist!" 

To find out more about our grants programme, and how we support skills for young people, click here.