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Teenagers in Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taff will attend a jobs fair with a difference next week (Thursday, July 7) when Forestry Commission Wales holds its annual Children’s Conference.
This year’s conference, to be held at Garwnant Visitor Centre near Merthyr Tydfil, will focus on the breadth of career opportunities in an industry that supports more than 4,000 jobs and is worth £400 million a year to the Welsh economy.
Secondary school children completed a questionnaire to gauge their current interests and thoughts about future careers before attending the conference, called A Woodland World of Work.
The conference has been organised by the Commission’s Woodlands for Learning (WfL) team, which has hosted similar events every year since 2002. This year the event is supported by the local Education Business Partnership.
During the day, the children will take part in a series of workshops hosted by FC Wales staff and private woodland businesses which will open their eyes to the huge range of careers in the forestry industry.
Sue Williams, head of the WfL team, said, “We want these young people to get a feel for what it’s like to work in the forestry sector and to gain an appreciation of the different types of jobs available.
“There’s a lot more to modern forestry than cutting down trees and we aim to give them some idea of the fulfilling careers they could build, doing a host of jobs that can add real benefit to people’s lives and society as a whole.”
The workshops on the day include:
• An introduction to woodland recreation work, inspecting the forest trails and play areas with the local Garwnant rangers,
• A re-stocking exercise with FC Wales forest planners, who work out what types of trees to plant to meet local needs, following harvesting operations,
• A mensuration exercise – measuring the height and circumference of trees with an FC Wales forester – in order to work out the amount of timber available, and
• Accompanying an FC Wales Wildlife Ranger to look at deer management issues as part of general conservation work.
The children will also view demonstrations from the independent forest sector on bush craft, green wood working, tree surgery and the use of timber in the construction industry.
It is estimated that the gross output of the Welsh forestry industry is £400 million per year. These outputs come from the full range of industries, from large-scale international companies producing wood pulp, paper and panel board, to small, family businesses making fencing and garden furniture.
Some 4,200 jobs depend on the home-grown timber industry, many of which are linked to rural areas and are significant contributors to local economies.
Sue said, “We hope to showcase some of these jobs and highlight the opportunities for young people who might be thinking about becoming the foresters of the future.
“Total timber production in Wales is predicted to increase substantially as forests reach maturity and as we convert more of our woodlands to low impact or continuous cover management regimes.”
The conference has been supported by Confor, which promotes the market for wood, forest products and services. A member of the Welsh Timber Forum, which represents wood-based industries in Wales, will be on hand during the day to answer questions.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Forestry Commission Wales’ Woodlands for Learning Team has run a Children’s Conference every year since 2002, with the delegates alternating each year between children and adults with an interest in woodland education.
The WfL team delivers woodland-based learning experiences throughout Wales, supports the development and delivery of Forest School and facilitates the Forest Education Initiative on behalf of its partners.
For more information on this year’s Children’s Conference, contact Sue Williams or Karen Clarke on 0300 068 0300 or email email@example.com or Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org
A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email email@example.com