The Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere has this week welcomed two members of staff to its permanent team. Antoine Lemaire, an established Biosphere Guide who hails from Belgium and Thornhill, is the Biosphere’s new Nature Recovery Officer, and will be working alongside lead officer Sara Press on local and landscape-scale projects that support regenerative farming and nature restoration. Meanwhile Jake McLaughlan, who held one of the Biosphere’s two paid internship posts during 2022/3, was successful in interviewing for a permanent role in Business Engagement, and will continue to support the Biosphere’s network of Proud Supporters and Certification Mark holders, helping onboard enterprises that want to pursue sustainability goals.
The Biosphere’s next 12-month internships are also being advertised now, as the organisation seeks to appoint two Project Support Officers (PSOs) to work in Communications and Marketing and alongside the Communities team. Both roles pay the Real Living Wage and are aimed at young people looking to gain valuable work experience and develop professional skills. Applications close on 21st August with a flexible start date, and school/college leavers and recent graduates are warmly encouraged to apply.
Commenting on his own experience as a PSO with the Biosphere, Jake McLaughlan said, “My first year has been fantastic. It has been amazing to learn so much about this wonderful area and all the businesses and people that call the Biosphere home. I am looking forward to progressing and being able to meet even more wonderful people and assist them in whichever way I can.”
Commenting on his new position as Nature Recovery Officer, Antoine Lemaire said, “I am very excited to be working for the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, and am particularly looking forward to getting to engage and work with farmers and landowners to find ways towards sustainable land use. I also look forward to discovering new places in the UNESCO region and deepening my knowledge of landscape-scale nature recovery.”
With a commitment to training, skills development, and creating local jobs whenever possible to do so, the Biosphere has been able to expand staffing and subsequently its programme of activity thanks to core funding from South of Scotland Enterprise and three local authority partners, South Ayrshire Council, East Ayrshire Council, and Dumfries & Galloway Council. This ongoing support has seen the organisation expand from just 1.5 FTE staff to a team of twelve in under three years. With plans in development for an eco-office at St John’s Town of Dalry, the team is looking towards a secure future and firm presence that is embedded in local communities.