Apprenticeship deal targets forestry skills gap in Wales

Forestry Commission Wales is tackling the increasing skills gap in the forests of Wales by offering work to contractors who agree to take on apprentices.

The commission, which manages 126,000ha of woodland owned by the Welsh Assembly Government, said it hoped the six contracts will help secure the future of an industry worth £370m annually to the Welsh economy.

The contracts offer five years of stability to forestry businesses if they train apprentices to NVQ level 2.

They were drawn up after a study in 2009 identified a shortage of contractors able to do chainsaw and wire-rope work in woodlands. The contracts cover work in forests from the Llandovery area in Carmarthenshire to Dolgellau in Snowdonia.

Wales Harvesting & Marketing head Hugh Jones said: "We will use the contracts as a vehicle to generate new entrants into the industry."

Forestry businesses interested in tendering for the contracts should email claire.evans@forestry.gsi.gov.uk.


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