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New apprenticeship to blaze a trail for forestry skills

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Forestry Apprentice de-limbing an Oak tree

Forestry Commission England has joined forces with businesses from across forestry, arboriculture, horticulture and landscaping to begin developing a new set of top quality apprenticeships under the Government’s Trailblazer programme.

The 38 land-based employers will join others from across 37 sectors in designing new apprenticeships to meet the skills needs of their industries.

The programme, run by BIS, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, will see organisations working together to ensure they set the right standard to get the skilled workers of the future that they need.

Forestry businesses of all sizes will take part in the Forestry Apprenticeship; from large-scale organisations such as UPM Tilhill, to smaller businesses such as Herefordshire-based Say it with Wood. The Principal Employer Group for the Forester’s Apprentice is being chaired by Ian Barrow of Bartlett Tree Experts. 

Nick Boles MP, Minister of State jointly for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said:

“I congratulate the forestry industry for the key role it is playing in developing new top-quality apprenticeships.

“Through the Trailblazers initiative, companies in collaboration with their industry partners will give people the skills they need to thrive and our businesses the resources they need to compete.”

Ian Gambles, Director of Forestry Commission England, commented:

“The Forestry Commission is dedicated to supporting the growth of forestry education and skills for the future.

“Everyone involved in forests and woodlands today has a duty to play their part. The collaboration generated through the new Trailblazer scheme will help to give our next generation of forestry employees – from those working in practical forestry, through to mapping and business management – the scientific and practical skills needed to manage our woodlands.”

The Principal Employer Group for the Forestry Apprenticeship is chaired by Ian Barrow of Bartlett Tree Experts. Other organisations involved in the Forestry Group are Duchy of Cornwall, Fountains Forestry & Utilities, UPM TilHill, Say it with Wood, Euroforest, Acorn Environmental Management Group, Abberton Rural Training and Lockhart Garratt.

More information on the Trailblazer initiative can be found at

Notes to Editor

  1. 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. Further information can be found at
  2. For more information on working in partnership to support forestry skills and development, contact Steve Fowkes at the Forestry Commission on
  3. About the Trailblazers scheme:

Trailblazers are groups of leading employers within a sector working together to develop new apprenticeship standards for occupations ranging from welder to police officer.

Launched in October 2013, the Trailblazers initiative aims to ensure that every apprentice in England is enrolled on a scheme that has been designed and approved by employers.

More than 300 apprentices have now started on approved standards since September 2014 in the automotive and energy and utilities sectors with further starts planned soon. The trailblazers play a key role in replacing complex apprenticeship frameworks with short, simple, accessible standards written by employers in language they understand. Further information:    

  1. Media Contacts:

Forestry Commission: Katrina Podlewska, Senior PR and Partnerships Officer: or 0300 0674030.