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Our Apprentice Shepherdess Primed for
Busy Lambing Season

We are marking National Apprenticeship Week by highlighting the work of our new apprentice stockperson, Ellie Young.

Ellie, who began her Stockperson level two apprenticeship in September, is training to be a shepherdess and getting ready for her first lambing season working alongside our farm manager, Charles Gerring and full-time shepherd, Tom Locke.

Our Estate is home to a 1,000-strong flock of Scotch Mule sheep. The sheep are reared entirely on grass within the Estate’s walls, keeping them as naturally healthy as possible.

Ellie’s 18-month apprenticeship has also given her the opportunity to train up her own sheepdog puppy, Buddy.

Ahead of lambing season, which is set to get under way in April, Ellie revealed her eagerness to get started.

“I am really looking forward to lambing and I am so excited for the season to get started, I really enjoy the daily care of the sheep,” she said.

“I am absolutely loving it here so far, the guys are really nice and I am constantly learning so much.

“My puppy, Buddy, is learning quickly but he is still a bit excitable. He loves sheep and people and by the end of my apprenticeship, I want him to be fully-trained.”

Working on a UNESCO World Heritage Site means she also has to get used to interacting with visitors to our estate.

“The whole experience is absolutely amazing, I never thought I would ever be doing this. I always wanted to work on a farm but I never thought it would be here, the surroundings are beautiful,” she added.

Her day-to-day roles include checking on the sheep and helping Tom and Charles in their daily duties.

“Ellie is getting on brilliantly, I can’t fault her at all really, she arrived with very little experience but is a quick learner and is very good,” said head shepherd Tom Locke.

Launched at the end of 2017, our apprenticeship scheme aims to train 100 apprentices within a decade. By the end of last year, and despite the pandemic, 50 apprentices had already either completed, or are currently completing their courses.

We have currently trained 11 apprentices since the scheme launched, with five currently in place within farming, gardens and forestry.