Plant operators targeted for peatland restoration training

PEATLAND consultancy firm Caledonian Climate is working with Highland Conservation and DHG Hydro with support and funding from Peatland ACTION to facilitate a six-week apprenticeship on a 460-hectare peatland restoration project in Wester Ross.

With prior experience in groundwork, Leodhas Macdonald has been selected for the apprenticeship. With hopes to enter the peatland restoration industry, Leodhas will use the scheme to gain real-life experience of working in this new and thriving sector.

Leodhas Macdonald

Funded by Peatland ACTION, the New Entrant Machine Operator Training Scheme programme seeks to provide people with the skills and knowledge to pursue a career in peatland restoration. Targeting existing machine operators who have no peatland restoration experience, the training seeks to aid the development of vital skills and a budding workforce in rural communities.

Becky Shaw, NatureScot’s Peatland ACTION workforce planning and development manager, explained, “We’ve offered funding to ten businesses under the Peatland ACTION Machine Operator Training Scheme, to upskill a new apprentice to diversity their knowledge and expertise in peatland restoration techniques. It’s great to see Highland Conservation getting underway and offering a training placement to a local machine operator.

“Restoring peatlands is not only a vital nature-based solution to climate change and biodiversity loss but it is also a growing sector which supports new land-based jobs and the wider rural economy as part of a just transition to net zero. This training scheme will help build capacity in the workforce delivering restoration work on the ground while supporting employers to offset some of the costs of training machine operators during their initial learning phase.”

Andrew Coleman, MD of Highland Conservation, added, “Leodhas is already proving to be an asset to the team. We look forward to watching him develop his skillset during his time with us and hope the experience will encourage him to continue working in peatland restoration going forward.”

Freddie Ingleby, MD of Caledonian Climate, added, “Part of Caledonian Climate’s mission is to provide valuable training and employment opportunities to young people in remote rural communities, so we were more than happy to put Leodhas in touch with Highland Conservation to work on one of our restoration projects. As an industry, we are working together to showcase the opportunities available to young people in rural areas of Scotland and thereby ensure there is a steady supply of green talent.”