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Every day is a school day on the hills

June 15, 2021

For Nicola Warden, Biodiversity Technologist at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) teaching students the principles of habitat management is a key part of her work.

In preparation for the 2021/2022 Introduction to Gamekeeping course which is due to commence in October, Nicola met up with two past students to talk about their experiences of the course.

Robert Morrison from Belfast completed the course in 2019 and commented, “I have had a life-long passion for field sports and since retiring, I have more time to focus on my hobbies. Coming to the course with over forty years of experience in field sports I thought I knew a lot, but every day is a school day and I was able to learn a lot of new knowledge and skills.”

Robert says “as the course starts with the basics, it would be a great starting point for anyone with little experience who wants to get an insight into the industry. The course has been a great networking opportunity and it has led me to assist with conservation work at CAFRE’s Glenwherry Hill Farm Centre and be involved with the Irish Grouse Conservation Trust (IGCT) on the shoot days.”

Nicola talked to Mark, who completed the gamekeeping course in 2018 and now works part-time for IGCT. Mark commented “I highly recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in gamekeeping or country sports. You get the opportunity to meet with like-minded people and expand your knowledge in all areas of gamekeeping from legislation, practical predator control to deer stalking. By completing this course many doors have been opened for me in this area of work and I got to enrol on further courses that were offered by CAFRE and The British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC).”

Mark mentioned “as this course is run with IGCT and BASC you benefit first hand from the expert knowledge and skills from the existing gamekeeper, CAFRE staff and from the BASC team. Included in the cost of the course you can gain a qualification, additional BASC Shot Gun and Rifle Safe Shot assessments and certificates and become a student member of BASC.”

Mark concluded “if like me, you are interested in gamekeeping then you will really enjoy it and learn a lot from this course.”

Nicola added, “Places on this course are limited and applications can be made via the CAFRE website. For more details please refer to the website or contact Nicola Warden on 028 9442 6939 or”

CAFRE run the course along with the Irish Grouse Conservation Trust (IGCT) supported by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).