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Friday, February 19th, 2010 at 1:03 am
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Edinburgh’s Unemployed Youths go Wild for Work

Young people between 18 – 24 years old are being given the opportunity to gain valuable work experience helping to protect and conserve Scotland’s environment, thanks to the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s (SWT) leading participation in the UK Government’s new Future Jobs Fund.

The latest batch of Future Jobs Fund placements confirmed an additional 61 allocations for SWT, bringing a total of over 360 unemployed young people an opportunity to complete six-month employment contracts over the next two years.  The placements will be salaried at minimum wage thanks to the Future Jobs Fund.

SWTEDIConservationTeam_LiamCornwallLiam Cornwall, aged 21 from Dalkeith, who is now working with SWT’s Edinburgh and Midlothian Conservation Team, said,  “I had been unemployed for nine months before I was lucky enough to be given the chance to work outdoors with SWT.  Before that I had a bar job and, although it was long hours and hard work, I did enjoy earning my own money.  Being unemployed for so long was hard.  With no cash and my lack of work experience leading to constant rejections, you do begin to feel a bit worthless.

“The job placement with SWT and the Future Jobs Fund changes all that.  Working with the Dalkeith Conservation Team is brilliant and I’ve found something I really enjoy.  I look forward to going to work every day and being part of a team.  We do things like ring-marking and felling trees and restoring important habitats such as reed beds, and all our work helps to protect wildlife in some way.  It’s great to know that what I do is making a difference to the community around me.

“I now hope that the experience I am gaining with SWT will stand me in good stead for finding further employment.”

Currently the largest provider of Future Jobs Fund placements in Scotland, the boost in SWT’s ranks sees young people carry out tasks for the benefit of Scotland’s wildlife across all areas of the organisation, from practical conservation to administration.

SWT’s Director of Conservation, Jonny Hughes, said, “361 extra pairs of hands and feet make an incredible difference to the work SWT can achieve for the protection and conservation of Scotland’s wildlife.  Most of our new employees will join our conservation teams who maintain our 123 wildlife reserves. They may also take on contract work in the wider community to help people protect or make the most of the wildlife around them.  This can include anything from felling dangerous trees and removing non-native species to constructing boardwalks and viewing platforms.  We also hope to have more office-based placements in future, providing opportunities to gain experience in administration processes and data management.

“The Futures Job Fund is a huge success because it delivers real benefits to young people and communities. While SWT gains extra manpower to allow us to do even more for Scotland’s wildlife, the young people involved are getting real jobs which boosts their confidence and morale after periods of unemployment and gives them the opportunity to gain skills to help secure rewarding careers in the future.”

Launched in October 2009, the Future Jobs Fund aims to create 170,000 jobs throughout the UK, which deliver real benefits to communities.  Primarily aimed at 18-24 year olds, the Government, as part of the Young Person’s Guarantee, has pledged that from early 2010, everyone between 18 and 24 who has been looking for work for a year will get an offer of a job, work experience, or training lasting at least 6 months.

SWT is the largest membership organisation dedicated to protecting all of Scotland’s wildlife.  The Trust manages 18 wildlife reserves across Edinburgh and the Lothians, which are all open to the public.  For more information or to become a member, visit www.swt.org.uk.

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