Welsh forestry students branch out with new jobs at woodland giant

COLEG CAMBRIA students have secured new jobs after completing a prestigious forestry programme.

Tilhill, the UK’s leading woodland creation, forest management and timber harvesting company, and Foresight Sustainable Forestry Company Plc announced the completion of their Foresight Sustainable Forestry Skills Training Programme in Wales and Scotland.

Launched in 2022, the programme aimed to help young people in rural Wales gain employment opportunities in forestry by providing training, health and safety equipment and mentoring. Due to its success, it was extended into Scotland for the following year’s candidate intake.

The UK is experiencing a critical forestry skills shortage as it strives to meet tree planting targets to combat climate change and meet the increasing demand for homegrown timber.

In 2023, approximately 80% of all timber used in the UK was imported, making the country the third-largest global timber importer – highlighting a clear need to upskill and expand the forestry contractor workforce.

Over 70 applicants applied for the latest course and the 10 selected candidates have now completed their fully funded training at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi and SRUC Barony College, Dumfries.

The trainees, Ynyr Roberts, Brychan Edwards, Rhys Ap Gwyndaf, and Bedwyr Roberts from Wales have been employed by Tilhill as contractors to carry out planting works in its woodland creation sites.

David Edwards, Tilhill’s Forestry Director said: “It brings great pleasure to be able to welcome 10 newly qualified people into the forest industry in Scotland and Wales.

“Tilhill is very proud to have partnered with Coleg Cambria Llysfasi to deliver this programme which has truly upskilled these candidates in a variety of forestry related activities ensuring a strong foundation for their future careers within the forest industry.”

Andy White, Lead Forestry Lecturer at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi, added: “The Foresight Sustainable Forestry Skills Training Programme is a fantastic opportunity for young people looking for a start in the forestry industry.

“This year’s successful students have been lucky enough to receive training and qualifications in a wide range of practical forestry skills including tree felling and chainsaw use, first aid, strimmer, brush-cutter and clearing saw use, tractor driving and operation, and pesticide application.

“New blood is in short supply within forestry, so this programme is particularly welcome by encouraging new entrants, and providing the basics they need to get started.

“The generosity of Foresight in funding these courses, and providing all the necessary PPE, demonstrates their commitment to ‘growing their own’ new generation of foresters of the future.”

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