THE Royal Forestry Society (RFS) has appointed three key positions as it grows learning and outreach activities during 2024.

Jemma Cuthbert, Alison Dinnie and Alex Williams will work alongside the society’s outreach manager Becky Wilkinson as part of efforts to improve the wider public’s understanding of the sector. 

Already known to some as the RFS East Anglia education officer, Jemma has taken on the additional role of school and community outreach officer for the Teaching Trees programme, Junior Forester Award, APF schools visits and School Tree Planting.

Forestry Journal: Alex WilliamsAlex Williams (Image: Supplied)

Alison, meanwhile, joins the RFS as forestry careers advisor and will be working on the RFS Forestry Roots programme, Careers Roadshows and careers advice. Completing the set is Alex, who becomes the society’s first Green Tree Badge co-ordinator, helping to grow this exciting project as it looks to inspire more than one million children about the benefits of woodlands. Alex has spent the last 10 years establishing forest schools and delivering accredited training in Forest School and outdoor learning. 

Forestry Journal: Alison DinnieAlison Dinnie (Image: Supplied)

Elsewhere, the RFS is enhancing its professional certification requirements to reflect changes in woodland management and forestry practices.
RFS Certification recognises practical professional skills. Both the Certificate in Arboriculture (Cert Arb) and the Certificate in Forestry (Cert For) require applicants to hold a relevant theory qualification and to achieve four compulsory modules and at least four optional modules.

From this year, Emergency First Aid at Work + Forestry (EFAW + F) will be compulsory modules for both certifications. The First Aid requirement is among a number of changes made.

Becky said: “These changes reflect on-going discussions we have had with those working in the sector. Professional Certification is an important signal. It tells the public, employers and contractors that the holders are both professional and competent.

“Many applicants will already hold First Aid qualifications. By including First Aid as a compulsory module we are emphasizing health and safety as a priority.

“Other changes are the direct result of changing practices. Ash dieback, for instance, means many affected trees may be dangerous to climb. Working from an elevated platform instead may be the only practical solution.”