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Scottish Woodlands growing future leaders with graduate programme

Scottish Woodlands has hailed the success of its graduate training programme.

Scottish Woodlands says its graduate training programme is helping it grow future leaders for the forestry sector.

The Edinburgh-headquartered forestry business, which employs more than 200 people across 18 offices in Scotland, launched its graduate development programme in 2017 to address a skills shortage in the sector.

The company’s managing director, Ralland Browne, said the programme has been a success with almost 40% of Scottish Woodlands’ managers being “home-grown”.

“We are experts at growing trees and at growing our own future managers and leaders,” added Mr Browne.

“We are delighted with the success of our graduate programme so far; 85% of those who have completed the programme are still with us, which is a great retention rate.

“I look forward to welcoming many more highly impressive young people onto the scheme and growing more of those future leaders.”

He said 33 young people have taken part in the two-year graduate programme in the past five years, and the company is currently looking for eight applicants to take part in the scheme this year.

George Smith, who joined the programme last year and is based at the company’s Lochgilphead office in Argyll, praised the programme and said: “Working with Scottish Woodlands has propelled me forward in my career goals and has given me new and valuable skills from day one.

George Smith.

“My long-term ambition is to keep learning and working hard to become a forest manager – and I’d 100% recommend the scheme to others.”

Pippa Paterson, who joined in September 2020 and is based in Perth, agreed and said: “I can’t believe how much I have packed into the first year and a it – I’ve worked on a lot of forest plans across Perthshire and Angus, as well as new woodland creation schemes and operational work.

“It’s been amazing to get into everything in more depth and the team at Scottish Woodlands are so keen to teach, to pass on their skills and knowledge; I’d massively recommend the programme to anyone.”

More details about the graduate programme are on the Scottish Woodlands website at www.scottishwoodlands.co.uk

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