Arborists and educators in historic meeting

The Institute of Chartered Foresters hosted a workshop last week to which all Higher Education institutions (HEI) teaching forestry and arboriculture in the UK were invited in a move designed to foster better relationships between the academic and professional worlds.

The event was also designed to ensure graduates emerge fully equipped to start a career in the industry.

The ICF believes this was the first time that these HEIs have met together, and 11 out of the 12 institutions in the UK offering forestry and arboriculture courses were represented at the meeting, along with academic staff from University College Dublin.

Also in attendance were representatives from the private and public sectors, with a view to ensuring HEIs also consider the needs of employers when developing core competencies and tailoring courses.

Issues under discussion were ICF’s new accreditation system, standards across the UK and competences demanded of graduates by employers.

ICF Professional and Educational Standards Committee chairman Marcus Sangster said: "Changes across Europe and North America have seen Forestry schools merging into larger life-science departments, with forestry often a modular option rather than a dedicated degree course.

"Bringing forestry and arboricultural schools together to discuss common issues and exploring how we can work more closely together will lead to a stronger voice and higher profile for forestry and arboriculture."

ICF’s Executive Director Shireen Chambers said: "ICF has taken these steps to work more closely with the HEIs to ensure graduates are well equipped to start their professional careers. Their students are our future".

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