Forestry, timber harvesting and landscaping company Tilhill has seen a record number of entries into their yearly graduate programme.

The scheme enables graduates to join the forestry team at one of their offices across the country as an Assistant Forest Manager. They then build up their knowledge through being trained, mentored and encouraged by the experienced professional staff within the team.

Tilhill has promoted forestry as a career in both schools and Universities for a number of years. The industry has an acknowledged skills shortage leading the company to work with organisations within the forestry industry to promote forestry as a career within schools.

This has already attracted a diverse range of new entrants to the industry and is believed to have contributed to halting a decline in the numbers of forestry degrees and forestry training in colleges according to the Royal Forestry Society’s Skills Forum members.

Simon Lloyd, Chief Executive, Royal Forestry Society (RFS) said: “It is very encouraging to know that companies like Tilhill are recruiting, training and developing so many more young foresters.

“The RFS 2017 report “A forestry skills study for England and Wales” identified serious skills gaps across the forestry supply chain. This was the basis of a call to action for the forestry sector. Forestry now has a higher profile as a result of climate change and more young people are seeing it as an attractive and worthwhile career choice. Enrolment in degree level forestry related courses has grown. We expect this trend to continue and hopefully accelerate.”

Tilhill has also played their part in promoting forestry careers through their graduate blog which features assistant forest managers describing their roles and opinions on the industry which leads to a valuable insight into the world of forest management through the eyes of someone starting out in their career.

Rob Baker, Tilhill Assistant Forest Manager in the north Highlands, joined Tilhill as a graduate last year and offers his insight into how we can continue moving forward:

“We need to keep selling the good news stories that forestry professionals deliver on a daily basis. The more positive visibility the forest industry gains the better.”

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