Tilhill Forestry, March, 2018

The Ecologist - An Unexpected Journey

I’ve never really blogged before, but then again as far as I know neither has Tilhill, so by default this is going to be the best blog ever written by Tilhill Forestry! I see this blog, or should I say set of blogs, written by myself and a group of colleagues, to be an insight into the world of Tilhill Forestry, to see what it is really like to work for the UK’s leading forestry and timber harvesting company.

I thought I’d begin by introducing myself, and say a little about how and why I started working for Tilhill. I graduated from Edinburgh University in 2013, where I studied Ecology and Environmental Science. At this point, I knew next to nothing about Forestry; I believed my only real career options were ecological consultancy or charity work. Therefore, I decided to spend 3 months in India on an environmental scheme with the International Citizen Service, or ICS, secure in the knowledge that upon my return I would be inundated with job offers. Nine months and several bar jobs later, I was offered a job with Nottinghamshire Police as an environmental assistant. After a few months of attempting to convince Police staff to reduce their thermostats down from 28°C, I knew I wanted more. It was at this point I spoke to an old Uni friend and now Tilhill colleague, Alex Macpherson, who’d recently begun working for Tilhill in their Dumfries office. After chatting about the sort of work he was doing, I thought Forestry sounded like the way to go.

I did some research, volunteered with the Forestry Commission and worked on a few woodland creation schemes. It didn’t take long for me to begin to see the environmental, economic and social benefits that forestry could afford, but I’ll go into that in a later blog. For now, it suffices to say that my mind was made up; I wanted to work for Tilhill. After a reasonably confident interview (with several probing questions from ICF president and Tilhill's District Manager for Wales, Mr Edwards) and a written exam, I was offered a position with Tilhill as a Graduate Assistant Forest Manager in South Wales.

Two months later I was out on site for my first day with my new manager Alan Wilson. Within an hour, to his dismay, I think he realised how little I knew about Forestry, but he took up the challenge of my education like a champ. So for the next year and a half, he patiently explained the differences between a spruce and an oak, what a chainsaw was used for, and how to change a tyre. As much as I loved Wales, I did miss my family and friends back in Nottingham. As a lucky coincidence, my equivalent level graduate, Shona, was based in Nottingham and looking to move to Wales, and so in February 2017 we swapped over and I moved to the Tilhill office based in Nottingham. And here we are.

I think that pretty well sums up my journey into Tilhill. I look forward to my next blog in a couple of months, where I’ll focus far more on the day-to-day goings on of being a Tilhill Forestry employee. I just wanted to begin by clearly showing that even if you haven’t had a background in Forestry, it can be a great career to get into, and Tilhill Forestry can help to show you all of what Forest Management has to offer.

Andy Baker