News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Modern Apprentice opportunity for budding foresters

Interested in learning forestry skills such as tree planting, felling and organising community recreation events? Forest Enterprise Scotland is looking for eight new Modern Apprentices to begin a career in forestry.

Based in the south of Scotland, the successful apprentices will receive on the job experience and training with a Forest Enterprise Scotland team, backed with further skills provided by SRUC’s Barony campus.

Adverts have been issued and the recruitment process will take place over the next few months, with the new apprentices starting work early in 2018.

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Emma Staniforth, is our award winning Apprentice, having been crowned overall Learner of the Year, as well as the Trees and Timber Learner of the Year at the Lantra Scotland awards.

Emma, who had no practical experience of forestry before joining Forestry Commission Scotland in August 2014, said: “This is a super way to get hands on training in real life situations, learning from people who are right there with you doing the job. They are sharing their experience with you and teach you the best way to complete a job.

“All the training and tickets you receive and the opportunity to work across various departments before committing to an actual role is great. And earning a decent wage while learning enables you to fully commit to the apprenticeship scheme.”

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SRUC’s Barony campus is set within a working 260 hectare estate and is ideally situated to offer a training and Modern Apprenticeship hub for the programme. 

There are also plans to deliver a similar Modern Apprentice programme in the north of Scotland by August 2018. FES is currently in talks with the UHI Scottish School of Forestry to provide this opportunity.

Forest Enterprise Scotland has previously run a very successful apprenticeship programme and between the years 2006 – 2016 a total of 99 apprentices received training.

Around 70 per of those on the programme achieved the Modern Apprentice qualification and nearly 80 per cent went on to gain permanent employment within the forestry or rural sector. Around a quarter of the apprentices were female, helping to challenge the myths of forestry being a male dominated industry.

It is hoped Forest Enterprise Scotland’s latest engagement with Modern Apprenticeships in partnership with the land-based college sector will build on its previous successes and act as a catalyst for other forestry related businesses to consider the Modern Apprenticeship programme as a valuable way of introducing new talent to the forest industry and rural sector.