Cutting-edge apprenticeship scheme

Published Tuesday, 16th October 2018 in Study at SRUC news

Apprenticeship scheme

Young people looking to pursue an exciting and challenging career in forestry are being invited to apply for a new apprenticeship scheme delivered through SRUC’s Barony campus in Dumfries.

Driven by the Scottish Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Leadership Group (STTILG), the scheme aims to train young people to operate the high-tech cutting-edge machinery used in the harvesting and primary processing of timber.

Nick Sparks, Dean of SRUC’s South West Faculty, said: “Forestry is a major area of activity and growth and we are very pleased to be working closely with industry to deliver this new scheme.”

Martin Gale, Chair of BSW and the Leadership Group, said: “The shortage of new, young entrants to forestry has been an industry-wide concern for some time. This has become particularly acute as the harvesting demand has increased and many existing workers are reaching retirement age or are returning to continental Europe. 

“It was clear that we needed to develop a fit-for-purpose machine operator training scheme that is viable and meets the needs of the whole sector. Thanks to the efforts of the industry partners, Forest Enterprise Scotland, Skills Development Scotland and of training providers we can now offer a pilot Modern Apprenticeship scheme that will provide in-depth training and the opportunity to consolidate their skills, which will improve trainee productivity and employability.”

The new apprenticeship will build on the interim programme of short courses co-ordinated by the UK Forest Products Association (UKFPA) - in partnership with SRUC and John Deere. The Scottish School of Forestry is looking to establish a similar scheme from 2019.

Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, said: “Previous discussions with the forest industries have made clear the need to invest in young people and new skills to help ensure the sector’s future success.

“Thanks to the foresight and excellent partnership work being led by the Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Leadership group, this new Modern Apprenticeship scheme will be operational by the end of the year. This approach is both vital and valuable and is a sustainable and inclusive way forward, which I wholeheartedly welcome.

“Increasing skilled opportunities for young people in forestry is also an undertaking in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government and I am pleased to announce that Forestry Commission Scotland is supporting this industry initiative.”

The establishment of the pilot scheme has also resulted in a unique partnership between the private sector and Forest Enterprise Scotland, which will employ the four apprentices for their first year. Two will remain with FES for the second year and two will be employed by Treetop Forestry and Elliot Henderson Timber Harvesting.

Four harvesting machines will be provided free by John Deere and Komatsu, with other companies providing fuel and ancillary equipment.

The pilot scheme will be reviewed after a year with a view to offering more apprenticeship places to young people.

Anyone looking to apply should visit here.

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