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NEWS RELEASE No: 1470514 JUNE 2011

Forestry sector work together to launch Skills Action Plan

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Douglas fir being manually felled

Forestry is a green sector which looks set to grow, but its full potential can only be reached if we have the right work force.

In 2010 a group of key players from the private sector, civil society and public sector came together to tackle worrying skills issues.  Their Forestry Skills Action Plan was officially launched in London today.

The aim of the Forestry Skills Action Plan is to put the right workforce in place so that the forestry sector:

  1. Increases sustainable woodland management
  2. Realises woodland creation aspirations
  3. Grows and creates green jobs and businesses
  4. Adds value to UK timber

In the Forestry Skills Action Plan, each of the ten partners has committed to take real action to tackle the skills issues. The Action Plan features a total of 20 actions which include:

  • working with careers advisors and school children to introduce them to commercial forestry,
  • providing relevant training and guidance for contractors,
  • increasing the number of apprenticeships and
  • ‘taster sessions’ for practical hands-on experience.

After three years each partner will report on their progress so that the group can work to have more players taking further action.

Pam Warhurst, Forestry Commission Chair, who hosted the launch event, said:

“Forestry is at the heart of our aspirations for a green economy.  But there are some real issues around skills shortages that threaten to undermine its potential.  Today, visionaries from across the sector have come together to put forestry skills back on the agenda and I applaud them.”

She added:

“Joining schools with industry and investing in people and training are some of the actions of a sector that means business, not just for today but for an exciting future.”

While the Forestry Skills Action Plan has been co-ordinated by Forestry Commission England, it was developed through collaborative working and further coordination moving forward will be undertaken by the England Forest Industries Partnership. 

Minister of State, Jim Paice MP said:

“Forestry will be a key part of the UK’s green economy and this will depend on recruiting people with the right skills. Industry has supported Government on this so far, and we will keep working together to make this action plan a success.”


Notes to Editor

  1. In 2010 Forestry Commission England convened a small cross-sector task and finish group to consider the skills issues faced by the forestry sector, with the aim of increasing the number of new entrants to forestry and driving the skills of the current work force.  The Forestry Skills Action Plan is the result of this.  For more information please go to - Forestry Skills Action Plan

  2. Partners include: Forestry Commission England, Confor, England Forest Industries Partnership, Forest Education Initiative, Lantra, Midlands Wood Fuel Ltd, National School of Forestry and Pryor and Rickett, UPM Tilhill and Small Woods Association.

  3. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.

  4. Media contact: Becci Turner  0117 906 6030, 07833 672903