Earth Skills Network: Protected Area

Opportunities in 2017:

In 2017 Earthwatch are running a number of ESN training programmes, which are available to protected areas, World Heritage Sites (including tentative list), protected area agencies or management authorities in Africa.

We are looking to recruit 18 staff from 6 African sites who will value training in business management and operational effectiveness, and will be in a position to put what they have learned into practice.

The closing date for applications is the February 24, 2017. Read on to find out more!

Getting Started with Earth Skills Network

The Earth Skills network is a unique partnership between the conservation and business worlds, which provides an opportunity for your organisation to:

  • Work with business professionals to build business, management effectiveness and interpersonal skills
  • Attend a 10 day training programme led by Business Mentors and Earthwatch learning professionals
  • Benefit from on-going business mentoring and support from an expert in an international organisation
  • Build and enhance your networks with business professionals and other protected areas

"Every success story starts with a dream. Do you dream of a better future for your protected area? Joining this course was the best decision in my professional life. The content and experience were rich and, more importantly, the networking has been amazing."

Abdul-Kareem, 2014 ESN Mentee, Ghana


What is the Earth Skills Network?

The Earth Skills Network seeks to partner trained business mentors from industry with protected area managers, offering insights and training from the corporate world to help sites meet some of their daily organisational challenges.

We welcome applications from IUCN Natural Protected Areas, UNESCO World Heritage Sites (includes sites on the tentative list), Protected Area Agencies and Management Authorities. The programme is funded, but your organisation will need to be fully committed, at a senior level, to be considered for receiving this training award.

Earthwatch, UNESCO and IUCN are working together with the corporate sector to apply business skills to support natural protected areas. In 2017, up to six protected areas will benefit from the input of business planning guidance, personal skills development and support for the duration of one year. Business mentors will work with three of your staff to address the specific organisational management challenges you face, supporting your site to develop a more strategic approach to planning.

"In a world where an MBA is considered a prerequisite to managing any private sector company, it seems odd that management training is not readily available to those looking after some of the planet’s most precious wilderness areas. I am delighted that this unique collaboration …. is building the expertise of the custodians of our natural heritage."

Kishore Rao - Director World Heritage Centre

History of the Programme

The Earth Skills Network is the evolution of the successful Business Skills for World Sites Heritage programme which ran between 2009 and 2013 in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell and UNESCO. Across both programmes, Earthwatch has trained 45 business mentors who were paired with 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites or protected area organisations. This equates to 130 site staff trained in business skills.

Find out more about the successes and impacts of the programme

What will you get out of it?

This programme is an opportunity for you to:

  • Access a funded training programme in business planning and effective management practices.
  • Receive mentoring from an expert with significant business experience in an international organisation, helping your site to take a strategic approach to tackling specific issues.
  • Make better business sense of your organisation.
  • Develop your confidence, capabilities, competencies, and the skills that influence your ability to put what you have learnt into practise.
  • Build an action plan which you and your peers are committed to, and identifies how you will transfer business planning at your organisation.
  • Increase your leadership capabilities, including self-confidence, team working and influencing.
  • Have the opportunity for open constructive dialogue with the corporate world, potentially with businesses that are operating in your country or region.
  • Make an important contribution to protected area management effectiveness assessments at your site.

"The insights gained from the training will improve my approach to protected area management. I will be able to more holistically address the challenges facing the site where I work through improved stakeholder engagement and financial planning. The experiences shared with other protected area managers from different participating countries improved my understanding of the big picture"

Michael 2015 ESN Mentee, Zambia

And don't forget:

  • Do you have the full support of your protected area management body to provide the time and resources necessary for this programme?
  • Do you have their commitment to embed the learning from this programme in your organisation and make changes as a result of what has been learnt?

If the answer to these questions is yes, please click here for a full application pack laying out the details of the programme and an application form.

Application deadline for protected areas is February 24, 2017.


Read about the programme successes:
ESN programme successes