THE Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) has pledged to create an "influential cohort" of forestry leaders after being awarded a bumper cash boost. 

Just shy of £453,000 was given to the Royal Chartered body Defra's Trees Call to Action Fund to fund two projects, which will consist of a "bespoke forestry leadership programme" and online training series. 

Ensuring foresters are equipped to deal with the dual biodiversity and nature crises, the schemes will also develop the skills of tree professionals at all levels. 

READ MORE: Trees Call to Action Fund: £6m cash boost for England's forestry job creating projects

Delivered in partnership with Clore Social Leadership, the leadership programme "will create an engaged, informed and influential cohort of 65 forestry leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds", ICF officials say. The group will also be trained to steer the sector through the challenges of climate change, biodiversity and supporting the green economy. 

Meanwhile, a UKFS-focussed online training series for 800+ forestry professionals will, upon completion, lead to a Lantra-accredited qualification for delegates.

Built on the success of one of the forestry sector’s most well-attended training series in recent years, this training programme will ensure the forestry workforce has the capacity, skills and knowledge to create and manage resilient trees and woodlands for a wide range of outcomes, according to ICF chiefs. 

Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor, executive director of the ICF, said: “The Institute of Chartered Foresters is delighted to have secured the funding to be able to develop and deliver these vital projects.

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"At a time of increased political, social and economic focus on our trees and woodlands, both the leadership programmes and the UKFS training series will ensure that forestry professionals at all levels across the sector will be equipped to face the challenges of woodland planting targets, climate change mitigation, the biodiversity crisis and more.”

The Trees Call to Action Fund support projects that protect trees and woodlands, boost forestry skills and jobs, develop woodland creation partnerships, and engage communities with nature. The fund will distribute grants between £250,000-500,000 to be spent over three years, funding 12 projects across England.