The River Stewardship Skills Scheme is a flexible learning programme providing those considering a career in river management or environmental conservation with the opportunity to gain practical experience of working in river ecosystems, culminating in a formal environmental sustainability qualification.
Delivered by the RSC’s Riverlution team, it offers young people and those who are out of work, in education or training, the chance to build their skills in a more structured way than general volunteering, with a focus on leadership, self-confidence and transferrable employability skills.
The 2022 Sheffield-based scheme, sponsored by Gripple Ltd, builds on the successful 2021 launch programme which ran in partnership with Yorkshire Water on the River Aire in Central Leeds. A second Leeds-based programme launches in October 2022.
Provision of the scheme is collaborative. Whilst Riverlution runs and manages the programme and provides much of the training and development; local businesses and organisations also come together to support trainees and engage in local activities. 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. 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 believes the scheme is a fantastic way to engage the local community and promote personal development and community value.
Our trainees learn a whole host of new skills and competencies that they can take with them into future employment. They become more connected and have a better understanding of our rivers as well as gaining confidence and working towards a formal qualification in Environmental Sustainability. This is a really exciting opportunity for people who care about their local environment to get involved and gain some real work skills.
Our trainees become more connected and have a better understanding of our rivers as they learn a whole host of new skills and competencies that they can take with them into future employment.
Tasha Lyth, Sustainability Manager at Gripple Ltd expresses why they gave the scheme their support to the Sheffield based scheme:
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 Wittram, RSC Managing Director 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.
Sign up for the River Stewardship Skills Scheme by completing our online registration form or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.