Interest in careers in forestry is running high among young people in Cumbria with more than 320 taking part in a week of events based at the Forestry Commission’s Whinlatter Visitors Centre.
The Royal Forestry Society (RFS), Forestry Commission England, Newton Rigg College and the University of Cumbria joined forces for the Forestry and Woodlands Careers Week. It was the first time such an event had been held and RFS Future Foresters Officer Adam Todd said: “This was an opportunity to talk to a range of young people – from those yet to make GCSE subject choices to those considering going on the college or university.
“We were bowled over by the level of interest and excitement there was in forestry at all levels. Several participants are signing up to courses and we hope that many more will now have forestry firmly in mind as they consider their future education and career choices.”
The week included which included tours of Whinlatter Forest, information about career options and courses and the chance to talk to current students and foresters. Participants were also able to meet Forestry Commission staff from other specialisms such as civil engineers and recreation rangers, helping to show the diversity of career options available.
Richard Hunter, Lecturer in Forestry and Arboriculture at Newton Rigg said: “The event was a great success for us. We were able to engage with young people about their future careers in forestry surrounded by a working forest. The tours elevated the event from the standard type of careers fair and highlighted all the aspects that we teach and how they apply in real life”
Nathan Fox, Forest Ranger at Whinlatter Forest added: “It was fabulous to be able to host the event here at Whinlatter Forest, and hopefully highlight some of the wide range of careers and roles involved in the management of a complex, multi-faceted site such as Whinlatter. Working alongside the partners has also re-iterated the value of training and learning opportunities available for students interested in working in the forestry sector.”
Mark Tomlinson from the National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria added: “Seeing so many young people engaging in the opportunity to find out more about the forestry industry was very encouraging. To highlight the Higher Education possibilities with engaged participants was enhanced by the location and the information they were given by the other foresters who they had spoken to throughout the week. This was also a rare and exciting prospect to work at close quarters with Forestry Commission England, the RFS and Newton Rigg College, all of whom focused on the aim of developing people through the Future Foresters programme.”