A Welsh college student has been awarded a prestigious accolade from leading forestry business Tilhill.

Dafydd Jones, a student at Coleg Cambria's Llysfasi site, was named as the Tilhill Diploma Student of the Year at a virtual prizegiving ceremony.

The 18-year-old, from Tywyn in Meirionnydd, Gwynedd, was lauded by tutors for his dedication and passion for education and his desire for a career in the forest industry. In recognition of his outstanding performance, he was put forward as the winner of the Tilhill award.

Dafydd said: “I feel very proud to be named the Tilhill Diploma Student of the Year and was shocked and surprised when I received the news. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my lecturers for all the support and guidance they have given me for the duration of my course.

“This award has given me even more motivation to proceed in the industry of forestry and has made me feel like I'm on the right path.”

He continued: “I’m so glad I chose Coleg Cambria; I heard it was the best land-based college in Wales and this course really appealed to me because I want to have a practical job in the future which is a little different from the norm.

“At the moment I work as a tree surgeon and am planning to attend university from September so I can make a difference in the industry as a forester or with my own arboriculture business.

“Thank you again to Cambria and Tilhill for this great honour and also for raising standards in forestry – it has been a fantastic experience.”

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Andy White, coordinator of the Tilhill Diploma at Llysfasi, said: “Dafydd will carve out a successful career given his positive attitude and outstanding qualities shown during his time on the course.

“His quiet confidence comes from a methodical and organised approach to all his work, both academic and practical, that should serve him well in his future career. He does not strive to be a leader in the group, but the solid backbone of the team that can always be relied upon. Dafydd is fully deserving of this award.”

A specially carved wooden trophy along with £250 prize money was presented to Dafydd by David Edwards, Tilhill's forestry director.

David added: “I am thrilled to present this award to Dafydd. It is an exciting time to be in forestry and Dafydd has the benefit of excelling early on in his pathway to a career in forestry. Forestry in the UK is a growing industry, with woodland creation being more important than ever, an increased call for bringing the UK’s forests under management, and a strong timber harvesting demand across many of the mill sectors.

“The Diploma is designed to train the next generation of managers and operators by way of offering a unique blend of education, industrial experience and bespoke training. The result is the development of a highly skilled workforce that can start their work experience earlier in their career.”

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