New Gripple Ltd partnership secures river skills scheme for Sheffield

An exciting partnership between Riverlution by RSC and world-leading manufacturer Gripple Ltd is offering young people and those who are out of work, in education or training, the opportunity to gain practical experience of environmental conservation work in river ecosystems in and around Sheffield.

Building on the success of the River Stewardship Skills Scheme launch programme in 2021, based on the River Aire in Central Leeds and in partnership with Yorkshire Water, this year's Sheffield-based scheme is sponsored by Gripple Ltd and has evolved to offer trainees a flexible, rolling work programme that leads to a formal environmental sustainability qualification and practical life-skills with a focus on leadership, self-confidence and transferrable employability skills.

The River Stewardship Skills Scheme is a flexible programme providing trainees with a formal environmental sustainability qualification and focuses on building skills in a more structured way than general volunteering, with a focus on leadership, self-confidence and transferrable employability skills.

This year’s Sheffield-based scheme delivered by Riverlution and sponsored by Gripple Ltd, builds on the successful 2021 launch programme which ran in partnership with the RSC and Yorkshire Water and was based on the River Aire, Central Leeds.

Provision of the scheme is collaborative. Whilst Riverlution runs and manages the programme and provides much of the training and development activities; local businesses and organisations also come together to support trainees and engage in local activities and events. The trainees carry out work that genuinely benefits the natural world and improves the local area, like habitat creation and restoration, natural flood management and species monitoring.

Trainee stewards taking part will also be able to participate in The John Muir Award, an environmental award scheme which encourages people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places and gain qualifications in Environmental Sustainability and practical skills such as the use of brushcutters. As the trainees focus on work that benefits the local community, like creating or maintaining public access green areas, their outreach events provide forums for people to make friends, exercise, get outdoors, learn new skills and do work that connects them to the natural world.

Geoffrey Guy, Riverlution Manager at the River Stewardship Company calls for those with a genuine interest in hands-on practical environmental stewardship to get involved:

The scheme is a fantastic way to engage the local community and promote personal development and community value. Our trainees will also learn a whole host of new skills and competencies that they can take with them into employment.
They will become more connected and have a better understanding of our rivers as well as gaining confidence and a real set of skills to allow them to take their interest further either in paid employment or other training. This is a really exciting opportunity for people who care about their local environment to get involved and gain some real work skills in and around a river environment and with Gripple’s support, we can deliver and grow the scheme right here in Sheffield.

Tasha Lyth, Sustainability Manager at Gripple Ltd expresses why they gave the scheme their support:

Here at Gripple as an employee-owned business, we recognise we have a responsibility to make a positive contribution to the environment. Alongside Reduce and Offset, one of the three pillars of our Journey to Climate Positive is Contribute. We’re delighted that part of our contribution this year has seen us partner with the River Stewardship Company and equip young people with the practical skills and qualifications they need to forge a future in the environmental sector.

Brendon Mottram, Managing Director at River Stewardship Company on forging partnerships where the city’s industrial heritage resonates to inspire future generations:

Our rivers were the backbone of Sheffield’s industrial heritage and I’m thrilled that local companies, as influential as Gripple, are whole heartedly re-investing back into our waterways and forging partnerships such as this with the River Stewardship Company.  
Gripple’s willingness to invest in the environment and push towards a Climate Positive future is an encouraging sign for Sheffield and the wider eco-system. This partnership will help to ensure the importance placed, and pride taken, in the ongoing work and management of our city’s rivers.  The work undertaken as part of the Stewardship Skills Scheme will help bring new life to the waterways and sees the relationship between industry and the Sheffield rivers come full circle.
Having been introduced to Gripple Ltd by Richard Donson, our Relationship Manager at the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, we thank them for their support and the role played by the Chamber in bringing this partnership together.

Riverlution by RSC and Gripple Ltd are bringing this exciting hands-on programme to South Yorkshire communities and would encourage those who may be considering a career in river management or environmental conservation to apply.

To find out more about the River Stewardship Skills Scheme or to register your interest in joining us, please contact

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