The current economic climate has caused the number of gamekeepers being made redundant to increase at a dramatic rate, according to Helen Benson of the Gamekeepers Welfare Trust (GWT).

The news comes as the Office for National Statistics announced last week that more than two million people are now out of work in Britain — the country’s highest unemployment rate in 12 years. Many shoots are now under pressure to take a decision on whether to commit to running shooting this season. Some have been forced to take the decision to close or scale back their sport, leading to job losses.

“Almost every day for the past month a keeper has made contact because they

have been made redundant,” said Helen. “The economic uncertainty has forced

many shooting estates to re-evaluate their outgoings. As well as registering out-of-work keepers with the GWT as a job seeker, the first thing I tell them is to buy Shooting Times to check for any vacancies being advertised in the magazine. Older keepers tend to be a lot more worried than the younger ones. It is a very physical job and embracing change becomes more difficult. Employers tend to look for younger candidates. In the short term, it is going to be a difficult and challenging time for keepers. I think next year may be similar, but I am optimistic that this will change by 2011.”

The rest of this article appears in 26 March issue of Shooting Times.

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