Gamekeeping and Wildlife management courses removed by 2023 

A gamekeeper filling a feeder

The concern centres around a lack of appropriate training being available for future gamekeepers, land managers, conservationists and foresters - Credit: Emily Damment

The removal of gamekeeping and wildlife management courses from the education syllabus by 2023 has been described as “deeply concerning” by a number of rural organisations. 

The matter has been raised in open letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi, following the announcement. 

Signatories asking the Department for Education to overturn the decision include leading colleges in the sector such as Sparsholt, Duchy, Hartpury and Myerscough. The colleges are joined by BASC, Natural Resources Wales and Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor).  

Concern about the removal of the course mainly centres around what is ultimately the loss of a fundamental, specialist training route for future gamekeepers, rangers, foresters, land managers and conservationists.

The fact that the habitat management replacement course has been described as woefully inadequate does nothing to reassure the concerned parties that appropriate training for rural jobs will be avaiable in the future. 

Curtis Mossop, BASC’s head of pathways, said: “The replacement course offered within the new education structure lacks practical training in wildlife management and controlling invasive species. It is woefully inadequate for the thousands of jobs that require a more hands-on approach to conservation and management.” 

In an article on politics.co.uk, Laura Black, Assistant Principal for Landbased, Sparsholt College said: “As a leading land-based college Group, Sparsholt supports the view of the sector that there is an urgent need to review the T Level occupational specialisms to support gamekeeping and wildlife management.
“We would welcome the opportunity to work with industry, to ensure that there continues to be suitable qualifications available to meet the needs of the land-based sector in the future.”

Signatories asking the Department for Education to overturn the decision include leading colleges in the sector such as Sparsholt, Duchy, Hartpury and Myerscough. The colleges are joined by BASC, Natural Resources Wales and Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor).   

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The signatory organisations look forward to working with the Department for Education to resolve this critical issue.