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NEWS RELEASE No: 161833 MARCH 2014

Forestry sector meets to set the way forward for skills, learning and development

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HRH The Prince of Wales presenting The Prince of Wales Award

Leading figures in forestry met at the Highgrove Estate on Friday 14 February to discuss how to work better together to ensure forestry skills remain a priority for the future.

The Duchy of Cornwall and the Forestry Commission developed the event to bring together private and public sector forestry representatives to address learning and development in the workforce.

Speakers included Oliver Rackham OBE, Peter Bonfield OBE and Graham Taylor (representing Pryor and Rickett Silviculture).

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, a great supporter of developing and promoting forestry and woodland management skills, also attended.

Workshops, facilitated by the Forestry Commission, explored how cross-organisational partnerships within the forestry industry could be created or further developed.

The Forestry Commission will now follow up on the commitments made (for example to share ideas and resources or create new opportunities) and will invite participants to help each other.

Ian Gambles, Director of Forestry Commission England, commented:

“Everyone involved in forests and woodlands today has a duty to play their part in developing the next generation of foresters. The scientific and practical skills needed to manage our woodlands will be needed more and more as markets strengthen and woodland cover grows, and we must invest in them now.

“The Forestry Commission is a key employer, supporting many apprentices and graduates and is committed to working in partnership with others to enable the growth of forestry education and skills for the future.”

HRH The Prince of Wales met with guests and discussed how young people who had been part of The Prince’s Trust’s Get into Woodlands courses had successfully moved on to apprenticeships within the industry.

The partnership between the Duchy of Cornwall, Forestry Commission and others is an exemplar project of how to bring new skilled people into forestry.

Lu Mason, a graduate of the Get into Woodland’s course and now an apprentice with Say it with Wood, highlighted the successful partnerships that are possible between organisations. She commented:

“Through the co-ordination of The Prince’s Trust, Holme Lacy College, the Forestry Commission and the Duchy Estate (amongst others), I have gained practical skills and qualifications and have been exposed to a variety of people and jobs within the forestry sector.

“Two years on from the Get into Woodlands course I am in full time employment and feel optimistic about my future within forestry.”

Grown in Britain, an initiative to connect more people with woods and trees and promote greater use of home-grown British timber and forest products, was represented at the event by CEO Dougal Driver. He commented:

“The Grown in Britain initiative is successfully increasing the demand for British timber and timber products and has a campaign to bring all of our woodlands back to life. This will hopefully lead to many new opportunities to work in and with the British forestry industry.

“Apprenticeships and people looking for a career change will be central to developing and nurturing new skills and talent. Now is the time for all organisations within the sector to take the opportunity of a growing market for our wood and invest in people.”

Other organisations involved in the event included Confor, CLA, Forest Schools Association, Woodland Heritage, The Crown Estate, Institute of Chartered Foresters, Sylva Foundation, The Silvanus Trust, UK Forest Products Association, Royal Forestry Society and UPM Tilhill.

For more information on how you could work in partnership to support forestry skills and development, contact Steve Fowkes at the Forestry Commission on


Image attached:

HRH The Prince of Wales presenting The Prince of Wales Award (for being outstanding young person on the Woodland Heritage 'Woodland to Workshop' course) to Nina Williams, from South Downs National Park. Credit Forestry Commission.

Also available: Lu Mason, a graduate of The Prince’s Trust’s Get into Woodland’s course and now an apprentice with Say it with Wood. Credit Say it with Wood.

Media information:

Katrina Podlewska, Forestry Commission Senior PR and Partnerships Officer: or 0117 9066030

Additional quotes from attendees:

Geraint Richards, Head Forester for Duchy of Cornwall commented:

“It was very encouraging to see such broad representation from the trees and timber sector at the Highgrove woodland seminar. Encouraging new entrants into our sector - an issue that desperately needs addressing - will require greater partnership working and I sincerely hope that this seminar will have acted as a catalyst for such an approach.”

Jon Cree, Chair, Forest School Association:

"As a relatively new national organisation (18 months old) this was a great opportunity to network and look at possible future collaborations for the Forest School Association (FSA). FSA has a presence in all counties of the UK, with over 12000 educators now trained. 

“There was a genuine enthusiasm for Forest School at the event. It will be great to see the 'wood culture' developed in education from early years through to higher education. As a result of the meeting, the FSA, with the Forest Education Network, will be approaching the Department for Education and ministers to help raise the profile of forest education and forest school.  This can only benefit a market demand and increasing awareness of British products being produced in sustainably managed woodlands."

Shireen Chambers, Executive Director, Institute of Chartered Foresters:

"The Institute of Chartered Foresters looks forward to working with HRH The Prince of Wales to improves skills within our sector. We will work with partners to foster growth and innovation, encouraging business and management training for foresters and arboriculturists through Continuous Professional Development."

George McRobbie, Managing Director, UPM Tilhill:

“Improving skills at all levels is vital if we are to turn more of England’s woodlands into Working Woodlands. UPM Tilhill is lead employer for the Forestry Learning Network project and, as Chairman of its steering group, I have committed to encourage our contractors into this programme which will assist them to develop the management and leadership skills required in order to help them grow and develop their individual businesses.”

Representatives attended the event from:

AJ Charlton & Sons Ltd
Alba Trees
Barcham Trees Plc
Bathurst Estate
Buccleuch Woodlands
Clinton Devon Estates
Country Land and Business Association
Crown Estate, The
Darby Nursery Stock Ltd
Dorset Coppice Group, Dorset Hurdles
Dorset Charcoal Co, The
Forestry Learning & Development Working Group
Forest Education Network
Forest School Association
Fountains Forestry
Grown in Britain
HS Jackson & Son (Fencing) Ltd
Harvey Shopfitters Limited
Herefordshire & Ludlow College
Hill Brush Company Ltd, The
Institute of Chartered Foresters
Knight Frank
Lockhart Garratt
Madley Primary School
Mike Rowland and Son Wheelwrights and Coachbuilders
National Forest Company
Newton Rigg College
Oaklodge Special School
Oliver & Lang Brown
Royal Forestry Society
Royal Warrant Holders Association, The
Rural Development Initiatives Ltd
Say it with Wood
Sylva Foundation
Silvanus Trust
Small Woods Association
SW Forestry & Woodlands Advisory Committee
Tree Council
UK Forest Products Association
UPM Tilhill
Willmott Dixon Re-Thinking Limited
Winterborne Zelston Fencing
Woodland Heritage
Woodland Trust
WM Forestry & Woodlands Advisory Committee
Yattendon Estates Ltd