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Future of Forestry: Skills study

The Royal Forestry Society on behalf of the Forestry Skills Forum has appointed RDI Associates Ltd to undertake a sector skills study that will help to identify the skills gaps and shortages, training provision and future needs of the forestry industry in England and Wales.

Skillsstudy Launch2017 Wn 210617

Pictured: from left: RFS Education Manager Ted Wilson, University of Cumbria's Mark Tomlinson, Forestry Commission England's Steve Fowkes, Woodland Heritage's Guy Marshall and Will Richardson and Martin Glynn from RDI Associates 

The study will take place over the coming months and will focus on the forest establishment, management and harvesting sub-sectors to provide an evidence base that will allow a skills action plan to be developed.

Funding and in-kind support for the study has been provided by the Royal Forestry Society, Forestry Commission England, Woodland Heritage, the Scottish Forestry Trust and the National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria.

RDI Associates will be liaising with Higher and Further Education institutions, undertaking desk top research and conducting a new survey over the summer which will focus on interviews with employers and industry stakeholders.

The study will focus on the forest establishment, management and harvesting sub-sectors and will involve liaison with both Higher and Further Education institutions. The results of the study are expected to be announced before the end of the year.

The purpose of the Forestry Skills Forum is to:

  • agree collective, collaborative and individual actions across industry and other organisations on priority skills issues
  • share information
  • provide a unified voice for advocating and promoting education, learning and development in forestry

Activity will focus on:

  • Improving/promoting the image of the sector, providing information and attracting new talent
  • Workforce development
  • Labour Market Intelligence
  • Further/Higher Educational provision

The group’s objective is to be a collective voice across the sector on skills:

  • Supporting the development and delivery of a Skills Action Plan, and the Actions within it
  • Challenging and encouraging industry to take the lead with the skills agenda
  • Identifying gaps and duplications in provision, and taking actions to address them
  • Informing and influencing on skills issues including qualification development and professional/educational interaction
  • Making representations on education, learning and development issues on behalf of the sector e.g. at APF, and holding Grown in Britain Week events
  • Communication, liaison and where appropriate joint working with Scotland and Wales, reflecting the ‘borderless’ nature of the forestry industry