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Skills driving job opportunities for Future Foresters
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The future is bright for the growing forestry sector – so heard more than 200 students from across the country at a unique Future Foresters Skills Day organised by the Royal Forestry Society and hosted at Shuttleworth College.

Futureforesters Maydencroftgrappler Jt 0710
Futureforesters Treediagnosticsdemo Jt 0710
Futureforesters Moultonphotowin Jt 0710

From the top:

Delegate tries out a Maydencroft grappler

Delegates talk to Tree Diagnostics in the packed Future Foresters marquee

Adam Sharman, lecturer and student Mike Young collect the Haglof Photographic competition prize of a handheld measuring kit from Phil Wade, director, Sorbus International

Speakers and exhibitors gathered to reveal the skills required to land a first job; to help employers optimize advances in technology; to move up the careers ladder or to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

RFS Chief Executive Simon Lloyd says: “Forestry is increasingly recognised as a major contributor to climate change mitigation. To grow trees on a scale being planned by the Government as well as adapting our existing woodland to climate change will require a very substantial up-skilling of the forestry sector.

“We were delighted to see students from nine colleges and two universities, apprentices and young foresters come together to experience some of the latest in technology – from virtual reality chainsaws and forwarders to hands on climbing equipment and tree care. Our thanks to sponsors Forestry Commission, Sorbus International, Forestry Commission and City and Guilds and to Shuttleworth College for helping make this happen and to exhibitors for inspiring the next generation of those who will be tasked with caring for our woodland.”

Moulton College were winners of a photography competition demonstrating skills or learning in a woodland environment with a picture taken using the Timbeter measuring app. They won one of the world’s most advanced handheld measuring kits – the Haglof Vertex Laser Geo worth £2,700 - generously donated by Sorbus International and Haglof of Sweden.

During the day students heard from:

Robin Jackson, City and Guilds Industry Manager (Land Based) on research which reveals a positive jobs growth for the next five years in the land-based sector particularly for those with the skills to optimise the use of the very latest in technology;

Tom Williams, Managing Director of land management specialists Maydencroft Ltd, on how employers are looking for “energy, enthusiasm and eagerness” as well as qualifications when taking on students;

Euan Brierley, Chartered Forester from WSP on how to grow professionally by talking to others and establishing links across the many disciplines that interact with forestry and woodland management;

Becky Gawthorpe, Biosecurity Outreach Officer Forestry Commission, on the challenges of pests and disease already present and that may come to our shores – as well as the opportunities to work in control and research.