“IT’S been the best year of my life,” says Jack, who works as a ranger in the Lickey Hills Country Park.

And now it’s your chance if you fancy the outdoor life looking after wildlife in nature in the Black Country.

The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust are launching year 3 of their traineeship programme Natural Prospects.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund it is specifically designed to challenge the barriers that exclude some people from working in the environmental conservation sector.

So if you are 18 or over, based in the Black Country, from a black or minority ethnic group, a non-graduate, in receipt of benefits or from an economically deprived area, and you really like the idea of this sort of career – now’s your chance.

“Since the traineeship launched in 2018, 13 people have completed their 12-month work-based placements, gaining a City and Guilds Level 2 Work Based Certificate in Environmental Conservation alongside practical skills and experience to help them find work within the sector.

Applications are open and five candidates will be selected for a practical placement either directly with the Wildlife Trust or at partner sites at Birmingham, Walsall or Wolverhampton Council along with a £9,000 bursary.

Jack said: “I’ve done so many things I never thought I’d do; I’ve learned how to restore woodland, maintain heathland, sharpen a knife, carve wood and identify trees and other flora. It’s honestly been the best year of my life!”

For more information and to apply visit bbcwildlife.org.uk/naturalprospects