AN intensive eight-week course developed as part of a partnership between the Forestry Commission, Plumpton College in Sussex and the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) has been given official approval for those transitioning out of the military.

The course, leading to the RFS Cert Arb/Forestry, is the first land-based skills course to have been approved by the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) – the MoD’s official provider of resettlement support for all the armed forces. It aims to raise awareness of the forestry industry within the military and the transferable skills ex-service people have that would suit the sector.

The first courses begin in September when they will be open both to those who are leaving the military and to civilians.

The course theory and practical elements have been developed by the partnership with employability in mind. The course includes theory units such as tree ID, introduction to diseases and tree biology, as well as training in competency tickets such as chainsaw maintenance and cross cutting, tree felling and the use of woodchippers. At the end of the course students will be equipped with the basic knowledge and certificates of competence to find employment and progress within the industry.

Jeremy Kerswell, Plumpton College principal, said: “We are very pleased to launch this new partnership with the Royal Forestry Society and the Forestry Commission to encourage military leavers into the world of forestry. I know their highly transferable skills and work ethic will fuel the next generation within this sector which is hungry for skilled workers.”

Details for military personnel can be found on the CTP website, with details of the course for civilians available on the Plumpton website.