FOREST Enterprise Scotland says it is on the hunt for eight new Modern Apprentices to begin a career with them in forestry.
New recruits will learn forestry skills ranging from tree planting, felling and forest surveying right through to organising community recreation events.
A similar scheme between 2006 and 2016 saw women account for around a quarter of forestry roles previously.
Based in the south of Scotland, the new recruits receive on the job experience and training with a Forest Enterprise Scotland team, backed with further skills provided by SRUC’s Barony campus.
Announcing the apprentice opportunity at a visit to Barony campus yesterday, the Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “We know that new recruits are often the life blood of any industry so I am very pleased to see Forest Enterprise Scotland taking on more apprentices.
“The skills that the apprentices will be taught are invaluable and will help them build exciting and rewarding careers.”
Adverts for the eight Modern Apprentices are being issued this week. The recruitment process is taking place over the next month or two. It is hoped that new apprentices will start their work early in 2018.
SRUC’s Barony campus is set within a working 260 hectare estate.
Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC, said: “Forestry plays an important role in Scotland’s rural economy, so it is vital that young people are given the chance to receive hands-on technical training and experience. We’re looking forward to partnering with Forest Enterprise Scotland on delivering this exciting new apprenticeship scheme from our Barony campus.”
There are also plans to deliver a similar Modern Apprentice programme in the north of Scotland by August 2018. Forest Enterprise Scotland is currently in talks with the UHI Scottish School of Forestry to provide this opportunity.
It is hoped Forest Enterprise Scotland’s engagement with Modern Apprenticeships and partnership with the land-based college sector will act as a catalyst for other forestry related businesses to consider the Modern Apprenticeship programme.
Gerry McBride, Strategic Relations Manager with Skills Development Scotland added: “Modern Apprenticeships play a vital role in providing structured work based learning and supporting a talent pipeline into the forestry sector.”
Forest Enterprise Scotland has previously run a 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.
Dr Eleanor Harris produced research in Gender and Diversity in forestry in Scotland previously for not-for-profit organisation Confor.
WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read: Forest Enterprise Scotland manages the National Forest Estate
IMAGE CREDITS: Forestry Commission Scotland