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

Top spot for our Forest Craftsperson Apprentice

Emma Staniforth, Forest Craftsperson Apprentice based in our Dumfries and Borders Office scooped two awards at the Lantra Scotland awards.

Emma, who had no practical experience of forestry before joining Forestry Commission Scotland in August 2014, was crowned overall Learner of the Year, as well as picking up the Trees and Timber Learner of the Year.

Emma Staniforth

She talks us through a season as a Forest Craftsperson Apprentice and what the awards mean to her: “My role is to support the Forest Management department which involves all aspects of managing young plantations of trees.   

“During the winter months my work included tree deliveries, artificial reforestation, restocking previously felled areas with conifer and broadleaf species and tree protection with tubes and stakes.   

“In the spring, I began to do site survey work including carrying out extensive surveys in tree planting and land maintenance and undertaking vegetation clearance using mechanical and chemical methods of control.  I assisted in repairing and constructing fencing for protection against browsing animals including deer and sheep.   

“I worked with the harvesting department as we headed into the summer to undertake tree felling and tree respacing operations using the skills I had obtained in my NPTC Chainsaw and Clearing Saw training.

“Throughout the summer months, I was a valued member of the recreation team helping to cover trail inspections of the forest walks and 7 Stanes mountain bike trails.  I undertook maintenance work with the recreation squad which included managing the surrounding vegetation / tree safety around the walks and the facilities, path and boardwalk construction and grass cutting.

emma s

“To be crowned as both category and overall winner I feel is a fitting tribute to all the hard work that myself and the team around me has put into the apprenticeship scheme and my personal development.  I may have won the awards, but without the support from the FM Craftsperson squad, the commitment to the apprenticeship from all the departments within Dumfries and Boarders FC and the continued development of apprentices from the L&D trainers, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. It is with a huge amount of gratitude and pride that I accept these awards.”