Apprenticeship first for Wey & Arun Canal Trust

Published: Wednesday, 05 May 2021

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has become the first independent canal trust in the UK to take on a Water Environment Worker apprentice.

Nineteen year old Adam Rayner has begun work at the Trust on the level three apprenticeship, run in tandem with Bridgwater & Taunton College.


The course was developed by the Environment Agency, in partnership with the National Trust, Somerset Drainage Board in conjunction with the Canal & Rivers Trust in 2019.

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust is the first independent canal trust to invest in the 18 months apprenticeship scheme.

Adam will work with trust employees and volunteers to gain on-the-job training while studying remotely and in person at the West Country college.

Thorough grounding

With no shortage of projects on the go and ongoing canal maintenance tasks, Adam will receive a thorough grounding in many elements of canal restoration through the trust, from site work, health & safety to habitat management and more.

Adam said his background working with the Girl-guiding and Scouting movement and interest in the outdoors made the role an appealing one, telling:

Real hands-on experience

“I’m looking forward to learning many new things and being able to work with all the volunteers. The apprenticeship scheme means I get some real hands-on experience alongside my classroom work, and a professional training qualification at the end of it.

“The trust has achieved so much already and I am keen to be a part of their future success.”

Wey & Arun Canal Trust vice-chairman and training director Margaret Darvill explained:

"This is a bold move for an independent canal trust and we are really proud to have been able to offer Adam this opportunity to learn about waterway management and show how rewarding canal restoration can be. The trust already employs two full-time maintenance and restoration staff and so we are well placed to take on an apprentice, offering on-the-job training alongside structured college-based learning.
"It is a particularly exciting time for Adam to join us, too, as we have begun a major project at Tickner's Heath in Alfold in Surrey, where we are constructing a road and pedestrian crossing to allow restoration of the canal there, and plenty of projects in the pipeline.

"I'm sure he will be a real asset to the Trust and enjoy working with our volunteers to restore London’s lost route to the sea."