A TEENAGER whose career adviser laughed when he said he wanted to work with birds of prey has landed an apprenticeship to become a falconer.

David Horseman, 17, of Northallerton, said he was thrilled after securing the two-year position at the Birds of Prey Centre at Sion Hill Hall in Kirby Wiske, near Thirsk, having volunteered at the attraction since he was 13.

Having impressed staff with his care for the birds, he has been taken on as an apprentice studying animal management and his day to day role involves caring for more than 70 birds of prey, ranging from huge eagles to tiny owls.

David said he was working as part of a team to produce three 45-minute shows a day to up to audiences of up to 300 visitors.

His apprenticeship is a work-based learning scheme run by the College of Animal Welfare and allowing David to learn practical skills alongside a recognised qualification.

The former Northalleton College pupil said handling the 10lb white tailed sea eagle, which has a 10ft wing span, was among the most challenging birds to handle.

He said: "Getting the apprenticeship is a dream job and it feels more of an achievement as I did all the work myself to get it.

"To be a falconer you have to be calm as sometimes it is not always going to go to plan, you have to work with the weather rather than against it."