Wey and Arun Canal Trust in apprenticeship ‘first’
A teenage student has become the first water environment worker apprentice in the UK to be taken on by an independent canal trust.
Nineteen-year-old Adam Rayner has begun work at the Wey and Arun Canal Trust on the level 3 apprenticeship, run in tandem with Bridgwater and Taunton College.
The course was developed by the Environment Agency, in partnership with the National Trust, the Canal and River Trust and Somerset Drainage Board in conjunction with the Canal and Rivers Trust in 2019.
The Wey and Arun Canal Trust is the first independent canal trust to invest in the 18-month apprenticeship scheme.
Adam will work with trust employees and volunteers to gain on-the-job training while studying remotely and in person at the West Country college.
Adam will receive a thorough grounding in many elements of canal restoration from site work and health and safety to habitat management and more.
Adam said: “I’m looking forward to learning many new things and being able to work with all the volunteers.
“The apprenticeship scheme means I get some real hands-on experience alongside my classroom work, and a professional training qualification at the end of it.
“The trust has achieved so much already and I am keen to be a part of their future success.”
Wey and Arun Canal Trust vice-chairman and training director Margaret Darvill said: “This is a bold move for an independent canal trust and we are really proud to have been able to offer Adam this opportunity to learn about waterway management and show how rewarding canal restoration can be.
“The trust already employs two full-time maintenance and restoration staff and so we are well placed to take on an apprentice, offering on-the-job training alongside structured college-based learning.
“It is a particularly exciting time for Adam to join us, too, as we have begun a major project at Tickner’s Heath in Alfold in Surrey, where we are constructing a road and pedestrian crossing to allow restoration of the canal there, and plenty of projects in the pipeline.
“I’m sure he will be a real asset to the trust and enjoy working with our volunteers to restore London’s lost route to the sea.”
The Wey and Arun Canal Trust was formed in 1973 with the aim of restoring the 23-mile navigable link between the Rivers Wey and Arun, recreating the direct water link between London and the South Coast.