Marine Graduate Training Programme (2011-2014)

The Marine Graduate Training Programme was established in 2011 to provide work-based training in marine conservation and community engagement for recent university graduates.

The Marine and Coastal Heritage Programme has been designed to dovetail with our highly successful Marine Graduate Training Porgramme. During the course of the three year programme we trained 12 graduate trainees in marine and coastal related skills and activities through a variety of on-the-job training opportunities and formal taught courses. 

Throughout the project the trainees have helped the Wildlife Trusts to deliver a range of key activities to different audiences to improve awareness surrounding our marine environment. They assisted in the organisation of large scale events such as our annual Beached Art festival at St Bees Head in West Cumbria and both Marine Conferences in Grange-over-Sands, South Cumbria. Our trainees contributed significantly to our campaign work in order to gain support for Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea and have helped to establish the volunteer led Shoresearch project throughout the north west region in order to help collect data on coastal species.

We would like to thank all of our trainees for their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication to all aspects of the training they undertook while with us and wish them all the best in their future careers. 

Success for the Scheme

Within a year, all four graduates from Year 1 of the programme had secured paid employment in the sector. In fact, with ten out of twelve of the trainees having finished their placements with us, nine out of ten of them are now within paid employment in the sector. 

My current employment is a great advocate for the benefits of the project and the possibilities it opens up for anyone willing to make the most of it

Here is what some of the past trainees have gone on to do and how the programme helped them:

Nikki Taylor was employed as the Wild Oceans project officer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust and has now gone on to take up a position as an MPA implementation advisor at the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).
Nikki said: “The training programme gave me an immense range of opportunities that have resulted in my progression to project officer within Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and subsequently within JNCC. With my late start in marine biology, my current employment is a great advocate for the benefits of the project and the possibilities it opens up for anyone willing to make the most of it.”

Laurence Browning is a marine advisor for Natural England as part of the Irish Sea Team. Laurence said: “The training programme was very flexible for my needs. I was able to take control of the direction of my training and create a work plan that suited my personal objectives. I gained qualifications and skills that have been of great benefit to my career. More importantly, I met lots of interesting and helpful people working in the area of marine conservation – the opportunity to build such a network was very useful. The programme also helped to further establish the areas of work that I enjoy and wish to pursue.”

Anna Bunney is a Wildlife Education Officer for ORCA. Anna said; “I applied for this position [with ORCA] before starting the traineeship last year and didn't even get an interview. Now I’ve managed to secure myself a job I’ve always wanted!’’

During the course of the second year of the training scheme, Rebecca Wilcox completed a report on 'The Incidence of Pearling in the Blue Mussel' in collaboration with the North Western Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (NWIFCA). The report focuses on the mussel beds of the Walney Channel near Barow in Furness, Cumbria and is attached below for those interested in learning more.

Over the three year period three of the trainees were involved in data collection on the long term health and extent of the honeycomb worm reefs (Sabellaria alveolata) in the north west, a project led by the North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority. The data was compiled into a report by one of our year three trainees, Sian Egerton and can be accessed below. 

Please note that the Marine Graduate Training Programme has now ended. 



FilenameFile size
Distribution mapping and health assessment of honeycomb worm, Sabellaria alveolata, reefs on Heysham Flat, Lancashire - Sian Egerton4.88 MB
Review of the incidence of pearling in the mussel, Mytilus edulis - Rebecca Wilcox576.62 KB
Updated version-Distribution mapping and health assessment of honeycomb worm Sabellaria alveolata reefs on Heysham Flat Lancashire- Vicki Foster 2015.pdf4.03 MB