The countryside sector needs people who understand both the science and the practical elements required to manage the many conflicting demands on rural areas. This course aims to prepare you for the task of successful countryside management.
You’ll study a wide range of relevant conservation issues and analyse the complex impact that tourism and development have on the countryside and have a greater understanding of the scientific implications relating to these issues, enabling you to evaluate the threats and solutions that conservationists currently face.
Practical skills underpin every element of this course. You will gain a broad knowledge of the different habitats around us including relevant legislation, and hands-on experience of the ‘gold-star’ management techniques that can be implemented to conserve the flora and fauna they contain.
All 16-19 year olds on full-time programmes will be required to retake GCSE English and Maths or to undertake Functional Skills, if they have not already attained the equivalent of a GCSE grade C in these subjects, every year of their course, until they complete their studies.
What you'll learn
- Investigative project
- Principals of ecology
- Estate skills
- Work experience
- Greenwood crafts
- Heathland management
- Woodland management
- Coastal management
- Plant and soil science
- Forest recreation
- Environmental interpretation
- Farm Habitat management
- Work experience
How you'll learn and be assessed
A range of practical ‘real’ projects on the Merrist Wood estate, along with workshop, classroom and laboratory studies. Work Experience – You will undertake 150 hours industry experience with a conservation organisation. We have dedicated industry placement officer who will help you arrange this.
Our courses are run by professional staff who are passionate about conservation and ecology, and have strong links with local organisations such as the Surrey Wildlife Trust. The course is ideally set up to ensure that you are able to progress into careers in the environment and ecology and conservation or onto University. To ensure that you have a detailed understanding of how the environment changes and its effect on the land, you will be undertaking real-life projects across our extensive estate that will incorporate studying the science of plants, biological environment and applied ecology. But its not all about science, you will also learn a wide range of environmental, conservation and wildlife skills such as the management of habitats and woodland, as well as learning about how recreation impacts the countryside.
In addition you will also have the opportunity to be trained in the safe use of machinery in our specialist workshops, therefore ensuring you develop the practical skills needed to manage the land. You will also have the opportunity to get involved in estate management, the annual lambing season and traditional greenwood crafts such as charcoal burning and coppicing.
Many of our former students have moved on to work for local government as ecology officers or national organisations such as the National Trust, Surrey Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust either managing the estates or as ecological advisors. There really is no better place to study the environment, conservation and ecology than at Merrist Wood College!
At least four GCSEs at grade 4 (grade C) or above, including Maths and English, or a Level 2 Diploma at Merit or above.
Be prepared to work outdoors in real working situations that range from hedgelaying and tractor driving to wildlife surveying, with everything needed in between to prepare you for a career in countryside and estate management.