Countryside Skills and Deer Management for Conservation NQ

What is special about this course?

This exciting course combines a range of practical countryside skills and industry awards with an emphasis on the sustainable and integrated management of deer in a variety of landscapes.

It covers a wide range of practical skills, as well as specialising in Deer Management. This helps keep your employment options open.

You will meet potential employers and have a 3 week work placement in deer management.

You will gain Industry Awards in specialist skills such as Dry Stone Walling, Pesticides, Chainsaw Use, Quad Bikes and First Aid, as well as your SQA Awards and College Certificate.

It lasts 19 weeks, November - March and you may be able to study whilst in employment.

Entry requirements

  • Candidates must be at least 16 years of age by the start date of the course.  Some work placement and Industry Award options may have a lower age limit of 18.
  • Candidates must have an interest in, and enthusiasm for, taking on the whole package, from practical and often physically demanding outdoor work in all weathers, to classroom-based study.
  • There are no mandatory entrance qualifications. Candidates must be able to demonstrate eagerness and ability to study, and will ideally have relevant qualifications and/or experience:  NC Rural Skills SCQF 4, Standard Grade /National 5 Geography and Biology, and some proven practical skills. Each applicant will be considered on merit.
  • Candidates should have qualifications in the essential skills of Communications, Information Technology & Numeracy at SCQF 5/National 5/Standard Grade credit, or be able to demonstrate equivalent competence.
  • Mature students are very welcome.
  • All applicants will be invited for interview.

Entry to this course is at the discretion of the College.

  • Practical Countryside Skills. ( eg. fencing, foot paths, outdoor structures, working with timber, using tools and machinery)
  • Habitat Studies
  • Countryside Recreation & Access
  • Industry Training Awards
  • Core skills: Communication and ICT
  • Sustainable Deer Management
  • Practical Deer Management
  • Deer Behaviour & Stalking
  • Work Placement in a deer management environment.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

Each week will comprise of scheduled, connected training time and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments. 

Connected training time is when you learn together with lecturers, instructors, students and others during this practical skills training course.  Training and learning generally happens at a scheduled time in the outdoors, although this may also happen in an online-classroom, a specialist classroom or on site visits.

Flexible learning is directed by your lecturer/instructor, and complements the practical skills based training program.  Flexible learning is a regular learning activity, for example:
• watching a video or reading,
• completing an assignment or project-based task,
• completing a quiz,
• practising a task, activity or idea
• posting your idea in a discussion forum,
• discussing and working on a solution with another student,
• researching and gathering information.

Self-directed learning is your decision about further study and focus.  We encourage you to take ownership of your learning and areas of interest. You can ask us to help you to determine areas for further development.

As and when it is appropriate and safe to do so, your connected learning activity will generally take place in the outdoors.  However, during periods of social distancing restrictions, some of your learning may need to be in an online-classroom.  This will include a combination of video conferencing, interactive chat and sharing of presentation slides and other visuals. Online-classrooms provide you with real time interaction, contact and discussion with your lecturer and fellow students.

How long will my course last?

19 Weeks

Where can I study my course?

    • Broadford

Start date

This course typically starts in November and runs until March


Most students have their course fees paid as this is a full time course. Please read our Fees & Funding information pages for more information regarding residency, previous study and bursary rates. Please contact if you have any further questions.

Some of our courses require students to have essential equipment/clothing.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) or not. However you must complete an application even if you know that you’re not entitled to EMA.

If you are 18 and over and are eligible for a bursary, these costs will be met through your bursary. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will need to fund these items yourself.


Students may also qualify for bursary funding.

What can I do on completion of my course?

The course aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to progress to employment in a range of Countryside roles, from estate workers and land managers to forestry, biological recording, and environmental education. Further study options include  HNC in Game Keeping, Forestry, Conservation & in Wildlife Management.

Is there more information available online?

QR Code - scan to visit course page

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

I want to start in 2021/22

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at West Highland College UHI. West Highland College operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.