This piece is an extract from our Forestry Features newsletter, which is emailed out at 4PM every Wednesday with a round-up of the week's top stories. 

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IN a week dominated by talk that HS2 is going to be scaled so far back it'll barely reach Watford (and even then it'll only run on Tuesdays when there's a full moon), let's take a moment to acknowledge public money well spent. 

Last week, the UK government announced it was spending an additional £1 million on a training fund for aspiring foresters and arborists. The Forestry and Arboriculture Fund – formerly known as the Forestry Training Fund – covers the full cost of training in a range of areas, including chainsaw operation and deer management. At a time when the forestry industry is crying out for new recruits, the cash injection, but a drop in the ocean, is more than welcome. 

READ MORE: £1m boost for FREE forestry and arb training courses - make sure you don't miss out

Richard Stanford, Forestry Commission chief executive, said at the fund's launch: “England’s forestry sector plays an essential part in creating resilient forests and woodlands which improve our natural environment, helping meet net zero carbon emissions, provide a sustainable source of home-grown timber and boost people’s health and wellbeing."

That the fund comes amid a wave of fresh optimism in England about the industry's future – mainly due to the bullish words of forestry minister Trudy Harrison – and the very real threat that there simply won't be enough people to care for the nation's woodlands in future is no accident. 

It's the second time the fund has opened, and February's window saw every place go within three days; don't let anyone tell you there isn't a wave of possible foresters out there, just desperate for a chance. 

Forestry Journal: Trudy Harrison's attitude to forestry has been widely praised in England Trudy Harrison's attitude to forestry has been widely praised in England

The government's legally-binding target on woodland creation and tree-cover expansion mean that an industry already struggling to stay on top of things now is simply going to have to increase in size in the coming decades. 

But that brings us onto a problem. It's all well and good giving rookies and forestry newbies the foundations to get started, but how do they actually put their skills to the test? 

Too often, there's an understandable reluctance from contractors and larger forestry firms to take a chance, knowing any mistake or lost timber is going to reduce already stretched margins. 

READ MORE: Letters: Reader asked for chance but forestry firms didn't give him it

In the last week, we shared a recent letter from a young reader who had reached out to several companies across the UK, only to have his plea for a foot in the door go unheeded. 

Take a look at the insightful responses on our social media to the story (many of which sympathised with him), and you'll see why the industry has a problem turning trainees into staff. 

Maybe a future fund could go some way to bridging that gap?