Lumberjacks and Jills wanted to carve out a career in Nottinghamshire forests

Forests are breathing new life into Nottinghamshire’s green economy and now the Forestry Commission has launched a new apprenticeship scheme to help train the lumberjacks – and jills – of tomorrow.

Nationally, 20 apprentice craftspeople will be recruited across England, with six of these based in the Central region, covering Sherwood Forest.

From planting and felling trees, carrying out surveys, restoring wildlife habitats and maintaining recreational facilities, the job is as wide ranging as it is rewarding.

The move comes in response to a national review carried out in 2008 which highlighted key problems for the forestry sector associated with an ageing workforce and lack of skilled new recruits.

Andy Medhurst, Forest Management Director in Nottinghamshire with the Forestry Commission, said: “This is an investment in the future of our forests and will help tackle potential skills shortages in the future. Forestry has a tremendous future with the growth in the woodfuel and firewood markets, rising timber prices and the boom in forest leisure activities. It is a great industry to be part of and of course offers a fantastic working environment in some of our most beautiful woodlands.”

Forestry supports around 110,000 jobs in England – twice as many people as work in the mining and quarrying industries.

Each apprentice will be given the opportunity to learn and work their way to professional qualifications and longer-term employment opportunities within the sector.

The scheme will run for two years and it expected that the Forestry Commission will be able to accommodate all of the successful apprentices in permanent roles. They also have excellent prospects to progress within the industry and could move up the career ladder to become foresters.

Pam Warhurst, Forestry Commission chairman, added: “We believe it is essential to attract new people into the forest industry and this apprenticeship scheme will provide the high level of practical training we will need our future employees to have.

“The recent Independent Panel report emphasised the urgent need for an adequate and appropriately skilled workforce in the next decade. We must have highly skilled workers if we are to take advantage of green growth opportunities.”

For more information go to the Forestry Commission website. The closing date for applications is 5th October.