New habitat management course not fit for purpose

Three game shooters talking

“Deeply concerning” is how BASC and organisations from the wider rural sector have described the removal of gamekeeping and wildlife management courses from the education syllabus by 2023. 

The matter has been raised in open letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi, following the announcement of the new T Level system on 22 November.

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

The organisations stressed the impact of the removal of the Land & Wildlife course from T Level course options. Our concern centres around what is ultimately the loss of a fundemental, specialist training route for future gamekeepers, rangers, foresters, land managers and conservationists.

Currently, there are more than 1,000 students enrolled on Land & Wildlife courses at 10 specialist land-based centres across England. 

What is being done?

BASC has already submitted responses to a Second Stage Government review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 in England (January 2021) and to a consultation on the proposed new Land and Water T Level qualification (July 2021).

Since then, the House of Commons Education Select Committee has launched an inquiry into how effectively post-16, level 3 education and qualifications (such as A Levels, T Levels, BTECs and apprenticeships) prepare young people for employment and their careers. We will be submitting a response to the inquiry by the deadline of 20 January. 

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.

“The Department needs to urgently rectify the issue if they are going to succeed in their nature recovery programme.”

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

Read our open letter to Nadhim Zahawi here.