You’ll help look after the hunting and fishing grounds as an apprentice gamekeeper. You would plan customers’ leisure shooting, deer stalking, and fishing excursions.
You will ensure enough wildlife, such as deer and birds like pheasant, partridge, and grouse, for clients to shoot. You would also guarantee that angling waters are sufficiently stocked with fish.
You might also be responsible for developing a rural estate’s wildlife and habitat management plans. Depending on the size of the estate, you may also be expected to complete related paperwork and administrative obligations.
A river keeper, often known as a ghillie, is a person who works as a keeper to protect and maintain rivers and streams as trout and salmon habitats.
You must be able to operate alone for lengthy periods, in remote areas and in all weather situations.
Working with guns may be dangerous; you must be aware of health and safety and possess a mature attitude.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- plan and organise shoots and fishing parties
- hire and supervise staff like beaters, to flush out birds during shoots
- keep records of what’s shot or caught and arrange the sale of game
- train and work with gun dogs
- breed game birds for release
- protect game from poachers and predators
- maintain equipment, buildings and game enclosures
- clear woodland and undergrowth
- work with the police to deal with crimes like badger digging and hare coursing.
- Expect an apprentice salary in the region of £14,000 per year.
- With experience and increased responsibilities, salaries can rise to £25,000.
As a gamekeeper, your hours would often vary based on the season and the responsibilities needed. You may be needed to work long, unpredictable hours, including early starts, late finishes, and weekend work between 41 and 43 hours per week.
You would work in the countryside, often in isolated areas, and spend most of your time outdoors in all weather conditions.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice gamekeeper include:
Level 2 Underkeeper – Entry requirements for this level include some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship. This qualification typically takes 18 months to complete,
On a gamekeeper apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- knowledge of public safety and security
- customer service skills
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to work on your own
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- to be flexible and open to change
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Career path and progression
On large estates, gamekeepers may have the opportunity to advance to senior or head keeper.
Some gamekeepers advance to other fields of rural management or work overseas in Europe or North America.