Getting Started with Earth Skills Network

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

  • Work with business professionals to build business skills, 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 and other protected areas


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 fully 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 2014, up to nine 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 pre-requisite 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, Earthwatch trained 27 business mentors who were paired with 27 UNESCO World Heritage Sites or Sites working towards World Heritage Site status. This equates to 77 site staff trained in business skills.

The Earth Skills Network seeks to expand the reach of this highly successful programme to all natural protected areas (in addition to World Heritage Sites) and is welcoming new corporate members.

“On a very practical level I can see how developing a business plan…will support the implementation of the general management plan. The residential training enabled Shell and Earthwatch staff to share experience and knowledge and connected world heritage managers from across the world. We all had a lot to learn from each other.”

Fred, Mentee, Uganda

Find out more about the successes and impacts of the programme

What’s in it for you?

This programme is an opportunity for you to:

  • Access a fully-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 motivated and committed to, and which identifies how you will transfer and act upon what you have learnt to embed business planning at your organisation.
  • To 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.

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.


Read about the programme successes:
ESN programme successes