Print page print this page


Ground breaking: Forestry Roots providing Careers with a Future
 Share this article on

Four young college and university leavers are starting their first paid jobs in forestry this month thanks to Forestry Roots - a unique partnership launched this year between the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) and the ALA Green Charitable Trust.

 Dominic Forestryroots2018 Wn 240918

Dominic Young takes the wheel of a Valtra Forestry tractor on the Babworth estate, Nottinghamshire, with Babworth owner Sir Jack Whitaker, left, and estate manager Josh Robinson, right

Anthony Green of the ALA Green Charitable Trust says: “We know that the environment is crucial to our future and by working with the RFS we are supporting future foresters to achieve their potential through training and guidance. We are removing barriers to first steps into a career of great value in the woodland and forestry environment where the opportunities are many and varied.”

The project brings college and university leavers together with employers to begin their careers, helping to address acknowledged skills gaps within forestry and woodland management and giving young people access to real jobs at market rate wages. All employers are RFS members, committed to high quality training and career development. Four more students will be recruited in both 2019 and 2020.

Successful applicants are awarded a one-year paid job which may lead to permanent employment. During their Forestry Roots year, the young foresters also receive 10 days Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training to qualify for the RFS Certification in Forestry. 

RFS Future Foresters Officer Adam Todd says: “We want young people to Think Trees when they are deciding their careers. Forestry and woodland management in the UK is a fast paced and growing sector. There are many exciting opportunities for young people to jump into, from establishment of new woods and conservation, to research, timber harvesting and everything in between.

 “The RFS values its relationship with the colleges and universities where these students have studied and looks forward to welcoming the next cohort of applicants in 2019. We would especially like to thank the ALA Green Charitable Trust for making this project possible and to RFS members for embracing the project by offering career developing roles to young people.”

 This year's successful applicants were:

  • Willow Arran (who has completed a BTEC National Diploma Countryside Management, Merrist Wood College) taking up a post as Trainee Site Supervisor – Establishment with JAH Forestry in Cumbria
  • Samuel Ozaktanlar (Level 3 Forestry and Arboriculture at Hadlow College), Woodland Conservation Operative, Heart of England Forest on the Warwickshire/Worcestershire borders
  • Katie Stevens (BSc Forest Management at the National School of Forestry in Cumbria), Assistant Forest Manager, Nicholsons Garden Design, Landscaping and Forestry, in Oxfordshire
  • Dominic Young (City & Guilds level 3 Diploma in Arboriculture, Myerscough College) ,Estate Under Forester, Babworth Estate, Nottinghamshire 

What the employers say:

Jonathon Hastie, JAH Forestry in Cumbria: “The Forestry Roots project provided an opportunity for college leavers with a one-year placement and I felt it was important to support the RFS and the showcase the Establishment and Maintenance sector by providing the venue at JAH Forestry to learn practical skills. I strongly believe in passing on knowledge, skills and passionto the next generation of foresters.” 

Stephen Coffey, Head Forester, Heart of England Forest on theWarwickshire/Worcestershire borders: “We are delighted that Sam will join the Heart of England Forest team supported by the Royal Forestry Society’s Forest Roots project. Training the next generation of foresters is essential for the future and good management of the nation’s woodland resource, and the education and practical experience that Forestry Roots and we at the Heart of England Forest can provide will by a solid foundation for any forester.  We are sure Sam will gain wide experience with us helping to grow England’s largest new native broadleaf woodland.”

Tim Shardlow, Nicholsons in Oxfordshire: “Katie will be assisting our Forestry and Arboricultural Services managers in their day to day roles, including management plan preparation, grant administration, site meetings, harvesting supervision, planting scheme planning and implementation. She will also  gain ‘hands on’  experience of forestry operations by assisting our in-house forestry and arb teams on site.

“The year she will spend with Nicholsons should provide Katie with a broad range of experience of lowland commercial forestry, a significant step towards furthering her career in forestry."

Sir Jack Whitaker, Babworth Estate in Nottinghamshire: “We are thrilled to be involved in the RFS’s Forestry Roots project. The forestry industry was much in need of an initiative to bring bright students into practical management. Dominic is an impressive student, and I’m sure that both he will learn a lot at Babworth Estates and we will benefit greatly too.  Over the next 12 months Dominic will be involved with estate thinning, Christmas tree cutting and transporting, tree planting and weed control, and other forestry tasks.”

In 2019 four more students will be recruited - three from FE and one from HE courses. More information here