A coalition of non-for-profit school residential and educational providers has welcomed the announcement from the Government yesterday pledging £40 million for jobs in nature and conservation. The Access Unlimited coalition particularly welcomed the news that the jobs will include education roles.
CEOs from the organisations which comprise the Access Unlimited coalition, wrote to the government in May urging it to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and bring forward funding intended to support outdoor learning as outlined through the aims of the Landscape Review.
Since coming together earlier this year, the coalition of not-for-profit school residential and educational providers has been working together to create a progressive and planned approach that will help create job opportunities, whilst also equipping young people with essential which will be crucial for a green, motivated, and skilled future workforce. It is vital that there are resources available to engage and teach future generations about nature.
Access Unlimited comprises YHA (England & Wales), The Outward Bound Trust, Field Studies Council, Scouts, Girlguiding, and National Parks England.
Welcoming the government announcement, James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England & Wales) said:
“Although this is a great start, the coalition continues to highlight the challenges the outdoor learning and residential sectors are facing because of the pandemic. Our role in connecting millions of young people each year to real experiences in nature, and the benefits this brings to so many, must not be forgotten.”
Nick Barrett, Chief Executive of The Outward Bound Trust, added:
“Our charities have focused on young people, the outdoors and environment for decades. More effort needs to be made for young people from diverse backgrounds to have clear pathways into work in both conservation and outdoor roles. And it is crucial we safeguard the natural landscapes that connect people to nature.”
Simon Carter, Assistant Director of The Scouts, said:
“For 112 years we have championed the need for young people from all walks of life to have opportunities to learn new skills in the great outdoors. It is vital that we ensure that natural landscapes and places that connect people to nature are maintained so that as many young people from all backgrounds can benefit from this enriching experience.”
Chief Executive of the Field Studies Council (FSC), Mark Castle, said:
“We must invest in skills training to protect our natural environment. As a charity focused on first-hand environmental experiences, the Field Studies Council knows how young people are under-represented and need accessible training routes into conservation. There are too few opportunities for young people to gain the confidence to use biodiversity skills and knowledge in volunteer and professional roles.”
Further details of the Access Unlimited coalition and its request to the government, can be viewed at https://livemore.yha.org.uk/yha-news/access-unlimited-case-for-support.