A FORESTRY trainee has told of his gratitude after the latest cohort of learners completed a training scheme. 

Sean Hain was one of 10 candidates to come through the 2023 edition of the Foresight Sustainable Forestry Skills Training Programme in Scotland and Wales. 

Run by Tilhill and the Foresight Sustainable Forestry Company, the fully-funded project saw the trainees secure important qualifications in chainsaw operating, tractor driving, tree planting and much more.

Sean said: “I felt very grateful to be a part of the Foresight Sustainable Forestry programme and had a great time learning about the various roles that contribute to the forestry industry as a whole. 

"The intensive nature of the course provided a full-on learning experience which, although difficult at times, was very rewarding when you look back at the achievements at the end of the month." 

Launched in 2022, the programme was initially for Wales only before its success saw it rolled out to Scotland for the most recent cohort, with learners carrying out their studies at Coleg Cambria, Llysfasi and at SRUC Barony campus, Dumfries. 

The trainees – Ynyr Roberts, Brychan Edwards, Rhys Ap Gwyndaf, and Bedwyr Roberts from Wales as well as Anna French, James Findlay, Sean, Connor Glover, Jock Munro, and Francesca Roberts from Scotland – come from diverse backgrounds across their respective regions. Tilhill has now employed the Wales candidates as contractors to carry out planting works in its woodland creation sites.

One of the Scottish programme candidates is now undertaking a pre-apprenticeship programme with Forestry and Land Scotland. The candidate will also have the opportunity to join a Tilhill contractor and member of BSW Group, Dick Brothers Forestry, for a further six-month apprenticeship.

Forestry Journal: Four candidates completed the scheme in Wales Four candidates completed the scheme in Wales (Image: PR)

Richard Kelly, co-lead of Foresight Sustainable Forestry Company, said: “Congratulations to the Wales and Scotland trainees for successfully completing the second iteration of the Foresight Sustainable Forestry Skills Training Programme. 

"They have shown remarkable dedication and commitment to acquiring the essential skills needed for an exciting career in forestry. These individuals’ newly acquired skills will no doubt be in high demand, in an industry where there is a national skilled workforce shortage. These individuals represent the fresh and diverse talent that the nation’s woodlands need."

David Edwards, Tilhill’s forestry director, said: “It brings great pleasure to be able to welcome ten newly qualified people into the forest industry in Scotland and Wales as a result the fully funded Foresight Sustainable Forestry Skills Training Programme."