A Cumbria University forestry student is celebrating after winning an award for his dissertation, and is now undertaking a graduate programme with Tilhill Forestry.

Robert Baker, 23, received the accolade for ‘Best Dissertation’ on his course, BSc (Hons) Forestry Management. As well as winning the award, Robert was one of a small number of students accepted onto Tilhill Forestry’s graduate programme this year.

In recognition of his win, Robert was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy in the shape of an acorn by Tilhill Forestry director, Tim Liddon, along with £250.

Robert said: “I am settling in very well at Tilhill Forestry; it is great to have started my job role and to be out in the district taking in all aspects of the business.

“Winning the award justifies the decision I took three years ago to pursue a career in forestry. Coming into the course with no level three qualifications made me unsure of how I would be able to progress, but in the end I couldn’t be happier with my final results.

“Cumbria was able to give me a route into university that I didn’t think was possible. They appreciated my background and gave me an opportunity where many other universities wouldn’t. I would not be where I am now if they hadn’t taken a chance on me and for that I am extremely grateful.

“I hope now to have found a career that I will enjoy for many years to come and will continue to take every opportunity to learn and progress. I would also like to thank James Jones and Sons Ltd who generously donated time and resources to support my dissertation project.”

Tim Liddon added: “We run an awards programme with a number of universities across the UK. We’re delighted to continue to support Cumbria University and recognise the hard work of students. It’s an excellent university which regularly feeds students into our graduate trainee programme. It is especially rewarding when winning graduates choose to work with Tilhill.”