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Young Leaders Course

There’s never been a more important time for young people who care about birds and the environment to take positive action. If you’re aged 16–24, this residential course – based at the world-famous Spurn Bird Observatory and run jointly by BTO and the bird observatory – will help you develop your leadership skills and better equip you to make a difference.
Attendees at the Young Leaders Course. BTO

The course will run Wednesday 10 August to Saturday 13 August and is completely free of charge, with a limited number of travel bursaries available.

It will involve a wide range of interactive indoor and outdoor sessions covering a variety of skills from organisation to influencing, all designed to give you more confidence to play an active leadership role in the environmental sector.

Although there will be time for bird watching on the Humber estuary, please note this is not a birdwatching course and this will not be the main focus. 

Attendees at the Young Leaders Course. BTO

Course objectives

  • Build confidence in communicating, both digitally and face-to-face
  • Develop organisational skills, essential for effective leadership
  • Learn how to reach and persuade key influencers to support your cause
  • Practise leading practical engagement activities
  • There will also be a chance to think about ways you can improve your CV, and learn about the various employment opportunities at BTO, Spurn Bird Observatory and elsewhere in the sector.
Attendees at the Young Leaders Course. BTO

There are eleven places available on the course. To apply for a spot, email youth [at] bto.org with your completed application form and "YLC Application" in the subject line. We especially welcome applications from young women and underrepresented groups looking to develop their leadership skills. You do not need to be a bird watcher to apply.

Applications close 11.59pm on 31 July 2021 and will be reviewed anonymously. We will endeavour to let successful applicants know they have secured a place on the course by August 2nd.

Application Pack

This course and its contents are made possible by the generous support of the Cameron Bespolka Trust.

The Cameron Bespolka Trust is a charity that has been set up in Cameron's memory to inspire young people to love and appreciate animals, in particular birds, nature, and our environment. By experiencing the outdoors first hand, teenagers can connect with nature and make a difference to our planet.

Parts of the logistics for the course are also funded by Opticron and the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

Opticron has supported BTO Youth since it started, including by their generous support of the Equipment Donation Scheme. For the Young Leaders Course, they have given their support towards travel bursaries.

Part of the course is funded by the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund was developed by Defra and its Arm's-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

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