Education and Learning: Best of the Best Awards 2022
The RFS Education and Learning Excellence Award recognises those who increase awareness, understanding and skills related to the environment, particularly forestry. Following five years of regional Excellence in Forestry Award the regions’ winners went head-to-head this year for the title Best of the Best.
A joint first prize has been awarded to the two finalists as both meet all the judging criteria with flying colours.
1= Coleg Glynllifon Further Education College, Ffordd Clynnog, Gwynedd
Pictured above: Planting woodland, Coleg Glynllifon students
Coleg Glynllifon Further Education college offers very hands-on, practical experiences within Levels 2 and 3 BTECs Countryside and Forestry courses.
The college sits in the heart of a 300ha of woodland and farmland. Students have opportunities that span the whole forest cycle. These include from tree planting, dry stone walling, carrying out habitat surveys to processing timber.
They are encouraged to practise their skills in woodwork by creating bird boxes, benches and gates for the college grounds. They also complete certifications such as first aid plus forestry, brushcutter, woodchipper and chainsaw.
Courses are taught bilingually allowing students to study in England and Welsh. This gives them a potential advantage for gaining local employment. The skills and experiences that the students leave with are highly sought after by the present employment market. All the current students are moving into future employment within the industry. Employers approach the college seeking future employees, including one employer from Canada
1 = Hill Holt Wood study programme, Norton Disney Lincolnshire
Storing logs: from left, Billy Richardson and Ewan Hodkinson
Hill Holt Wood is an Environmental Social Enterprise providing education, training and employment.
The main woodland site of 22 acres is home to a range of buildings specially equipped to meet the needs of the programmes. Credited courses in four subject areas are offered to 60 young people each year. The students range in age but are primarily 16-19 year olds. Many have specialist requirements, such as those with education, health and care plans.
Hill Holt Wood provides students with lifelong skills to support them seeking future employment. Some students have continued their studies by joining the site’s Forestry apprenticeship scheme and been taken on in full time employment.
During their time at Hill Holt Wood all students are engaged with activities that cover the whole forest cycle. this takes them from woodland management to processing harvested wood in the site’s sawmill. They also practise their skills and gain experience off the main site by helping to maintain over 1000 acres owned by external agencies, such as local authorities.
Receiving their awards
Left: Hill Holt Wood, Lincolnshire. Sponsor John McNee, centre, from Forestry Journal presents the award to Ben Wilson, left, and Steve Donagain from Hill Holt
Right: Coleg Glynllifon, Gwyedd. From left, sponsor Alun Watkins from PEFC presents the award to Jeff Jones from Coleg Glynllifon