An outdoor leadership course for young people from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds has been launched.

The course is part of by a project by a coalition of outdoor education providers led by YHA (England & Wales). Already 15 new jobs have been created through the Generation Green project which will help more young people get outside and connect with nature. 

Ensuring YHA maximises its reach amongst young people through its Generation Green funded projects, the charity has recruited a 12-strong volunteer Youth Advisory Team, which includes Louise Thompson (23), a sustainable product design graduate who is currently unemployed.

She said: “The pandemic has impacted job opportunities in the sector. It’s forced young people like me to lower our expectations and optimism. I feel strongly that Generation Green has the ability to play a key role in re-establishing the outdoor sector and inspire the next generation.

"I feel very privileged to be able to play a role in helping facilitate opportunities in the sector through volunteering, job roles and educational activities to help both the personal and professional development of young people.”

Amongst the projects and activities funded by Generation Green, Outward Bound Trust will be running its outdoor leadership course for young people from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds following a successful pilot in 2019.

Rehna Yaseen, a mentor on Outward Bound Trust’s Outdoor Leadership course, said: “I am a British Pakistani and my version of the outdoors was different when I was growing up. I’d play on my scooter but didn’t know crags and hills. Having someone from the same background, financial situation, culture and religion, etc., encouraging me to enter this whole new world is where I found my passion for the outdoors.

“Being a course mentor is a privilege. Building and maintaining relationships and rapport with the young leaders, being someone they can come to at the time of need is wonderful. Mentoring young people from different ethnic groups receiving opportunities through the Generation Green funding that they possibly wouldn’t have otherwise, is life changing.”

In total seven apprenticeships, 10 new jobs, a paid internship, 30 YHA Kickstart placements, and 659 skilled volunteer roles in the outdoor sector will be created through Generation Green.

Zoology postgraduate Bek Trehern (26) from Cornwall has secured the paid internship as an engagement and training assistant with Field Studies Council. As part of the internship, she will support the roll-out of subsidised online and centre-based courses targeted at 18 – 25-year-olds.

The internship attracted 250 applications. Dylan Byrne one of the Generation Green Project Managers at Field Studies Council explained: “The internship really struck a chord when we advertised it and we received a high level of applications. We hope our new courses, which are subsidised through Generation Green, will enable greater accessibility for young people to develop their skillset and, like Bek develop long-term careers in the sector.”

Bek added: “It is a difficult sector to gain experience as there are so few roles, particularly within bio-diversity. I am delighted to have secured the internship with Field Studies Council.”

Seven apprenticeships have also been created through Generation Green funding. Five apprentices will join YHA, while two Apprentice Rangers are already in place in New Forest National Park.

One of the apprentices, Jordan Jones (23) had always wanted to work outdoors and, attracted by the opportunity to work with partners such as Forestry England and the RSPB – collaborating as a collective ‘Team New Forest’, Jordan applied for the apprentice role.

He said: “The New Forest is a complex place and each day I find out more about the special qualities of area.  There’s a lot to tell people, and I have a lot to learn myself, but I really want to get involved where I can.”

In addition to creating new roles, Generation Green funding has also secured a number of at risk jobs in the sector, including Lucy Oram, Generation Green Project Coordinator for The Scouts.

Furloughed for 10 months prior to being appointed to the role, Lucy said: “I feel extremely lucky that with the introduction of this project I was able to be kept on within my role at Scouts. After being furloughed this is also a very welcome change to get my teeth stuck into.”

Two jobs at risk of displacement as a result of the pandemic have also been secured at Girlguiding through newly created Generation Green roles, including Project Co-ordinator Lisa Bouskill who said: “We’ll be engaging more young people in the design and delivery of our upcoming day and residential events and are very excited to be part of this project, enabling more young people to enjoy the great outdoors.”

Coalition members have each appointed a project manager who will deliver a range of programmes, activities and resources designed to connect young people to the outdoors. Activities delivered by through the Generation Green project include micro volunteering such as bug hotels and tree planting, self-guided learning, day visits and overnight experiences in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty, as well as social action/citizen science projects, designed to inspire a love of nature in young people.

All the programmes and activities will be delivered in COVID-secure environments, working closely with government guidance to ensure experiences in the outdoors are maximised.

To discover more about the opportunities available through Generation Green click here