Land and Nature Skills Service (LANSS)

A Land and Nature Skills Service for Cumbria?

24th February 2022

A proposal for a Land and Nature Skills Service (LANSS) for Cumbria was developed through an initial 12-month collaboration from October 2020. This involved dozens of organisations and individuals to consider how we address the needs for a highly skilled, localised workforce.

There are organisations poised to deliver and already delivering on these needs, but there are also gaps in skills, knowledge and training to be filled. Locally, the loss of Newton Rigg College – the only land-based college in Cumbria - exacerbated the gaps and led to the ‘Cumbria strategy for post-16 land-based education, skills and knowledge transfer’ at the end of 2020.

This next phase is a 6-month scoping study (January-July 2022), taking a detailed look into whether and how a LANSS could best support a skilled Cumbrian workforce fit for the future. This is an iterative and collaborative process shaped by a Working Group and hosting opportunities to feed into the process.

The scoping study will appraise options including governance, legal status and funding by:

  1. Completing a feasibility study
  2. Creating a blueprint for delivery

The focus is on a LANSS that would be centred in Cumbria incorporating skills for land- and nature-based work in upland landscapes. Users of the LANSS would be Cumbria-wide (and beyond), with a focus on post-16 and lifelong learning, training and knowledge exchange. This scope provides a basis for any further development.

The needs for a LANSS were identified as:

  • Supporting communities to work together for change, moving away from siloed approaches.
  • Ensuring the needs of the local communities and landscapes are met whilst delivering on national, and even global, priorities including ecological restoration, net zero carbon, green jobs creation and more.
  • Delivering and amplifying the skills and work opportunities needed in our landscapes now and for the future, supporting thriving landscapes and resilient local businesses and communities.
  • Providing shared-learning opportunities through our networks, delivering a place-centred approach to issues faced nationally and in the UK in terms of skills gaps and worker shortages.

The LANSS could aim to:

  • Provide oversight and linking of the opportunities already available (an information hub).
  • Provide access to lifelong learning, including opportunities for young people, existing businesses, career changers, and retirees.
  • Support people who are already working in the sector.
  • Support those new to the land- and nature-based sector. This includes those from non-farming and non-rural backgrounds and underrepresented groups who find it challenging to access the sector.
  • Create opportunities for in-person training delivery with immediate relevance to practice.

Key topics to be included in feasibility and blueprint:

  • Addressing needs: employers/businesses, learners and strategic plans/priorities
  • Understanding existing capacity and gaps to be filled regarding skills, training and knowledge transfer
  • Service design and delivery options: training deliverers, funding, coordination, curation, delivering on priorities (farming transition, climate. nature recovery), inclusivity and accessibility
  • Service sustainability: Longevity and permanency, ongoing staffing and coordination

How to get involved

Contact for more information.