Forestry Commission England to employ 20 apprentices

Forestry Commission England has launched a new apprenticeship scheme that will employ and train 20 apprentices. Each apprentice will be given the opportunity to learn and work their way to professional qualifications and longer-term employment opportunities within the forestry sector.

Forestry Commission chair Pam Warhurst said: "Forestry is at the heart of our aspirations for a green economy, but there are some real issues around skills shortages that threaten to undermine its potential. A national review carried out in 2008 identified key problems for the forestry sector associated with both an ageing workforce and lack of skilled new recruits.

"We are delighted to be in the position to recruit 20 new apprentices. We believe it is essential to attract new young people into the forest industry and believe this apprenticeship scheme will provide the high level of practical training we will need our future employees to have.

"The recent Independent Panel report emphasised the urgent need for "an adequate and appropriately skilled workforce in the next decade." We must have highly skilled workers if we are to take advantage of green growth opportunities.

"It is vital that the sector has a strong well skilled workforce to fully contribute to the green economy. Forests and woodland are already an important part of the rural economy. Forestry in England supports around 110,000 jobs – twice as many people as work in the mining and quarrying industries.

"With considerable growth in the woodfuel and firewood markets, rising timber prices, the boom in forest leisure activities and the rise of low-carbon fuels all point to an even brighter future for the forestry sector.

"Modern apprenticeships provide great opportunities and I have been delighted to have already witnessed some real success stories’. Between 2010 – 2012 five apprentices were supported by the Forestry Commission, Bicton College and the Silvanus Trust to complete a trial two-year apprenticeship package. Of these five apprentices, all have gone on to secure fixed term appointments either with us or on private estates."

Forest Enterprise England director Brian Maho added: "Forestry is a fantastic vocation so this really is a great opportunity. Our apprenticeship scheme will run for two years. We expect that we will be able to accommodate all of the successful apprentices in permanent roles. They will be encouraged to apply for any vacant posts and with their apprenticeship qualification they will be valuable employees.  Our experience shows that apprentices have excellent prospects to progress within the forest industry"

The roles are advetised on the Forestry Commission website.

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