A CHARTERED forester has told of the impact membership of the ICF has had on his life and career as part of an appeal to encourage more to join the industry. 

Tom Coates, head of wood purchasing at EGGER (UK), believes it allows him to “demonstrate professional competence” and “broadens his horizons” by giving him a taste of the many different sectors of within forestry. 

Speaking to mark the launch of the ICF’s #NurtureGrowThrive campaign, which is bidding to address the skills shortage facing the trade, Tom said one of the best aspects of his job was the “varied” people he gets to meet. 

READ MORE: Forestry workforce faces shortfall to fill 10,000 jobs

“The people are what make me enjoy the job,” he said. “You get to meet a range of people, from landowners to foresters, to harvesting contractors and hauliers, and everyone I meet brings something different. 

“I have been an ICF member since I was a student and became a full member in 2020. It allows me to demonstrate professional competence to people I speak to on a day-to-day basis and also to some people who maybe naturally wouldn’t assume I am a forester at heart.

“The ICF provides the opportunity to look into different sectors within the industry and to broaden my horizons, learn about different areas and what’s going on.”

The ICF has previously described the skills shortage situation as “the most pressing issue of our time – perhaps even in the institute’s 100-year history”, estimating that in order to deliver on its commitments, the sector will need to fill around 10,000 extra jobs over the next few years.

Forestry Journal: The forestry sector faces a skills shortage The forestry sector faces a skills shortage

That's why the body has launched its new recruitment drive and Tom is among those urging people to make the move. 

“The industry is really diverse," he said. "You can carve your own path. It depends on what you’re passionate about and what you want to do in the industry.

“We all sign up to the code of conduct and the ethics the ICF pushes through and encourages its members to have. 

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“We are all trying to get the job as sustainably, legally, and environmentally friendly as possible.” 

To find out more about the campaign, visit https://www.charteredforesters.org/nurture-grow-thrive 

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