‘Growing Our People’ a Q&A with North & Central England Forest Manager James Harrison-Moore.
What do you do? Tell us about your typical day?
No day is quite the same. I usually split my time between the office and visiting sites across Cumbria and Northumberland. Office work involves drawing up Forestry work packs, instructing new work, preparing management reports and managing site operations. This also includes monitoring health and safety on site and maintaining the standard of work. As well as managing and delivering projects for a growing client base which includes FTSE100 companies, I also assist the senior team with the management of both upland commercial conifer plantations and private estate woodlands.
How did you get into forestry?
It was by chance that I came across a job advert for a forestry/landscape operative in 2007. At the time I was working part-time in the agricultural industry and I thought it would be a good opportunity to take on a new challenge. I initially worked in the direct labour team for nearly seven years helping to complete many fixed price commercial landscaping schemes across the north west of England. Tasks included vegetation clearance, fencing, planting and seeding. In 2013 I was taken on as a Forestry Supervisor again working out of the Kirkby Lonsdale office. Then in 2015 I became an Assistant Forest Manager and in 2018 I fulfilled one of my career aspirations of becoming a Forest Manager with Tilhill Forestry.
What do you like the most about working in this industry?
I love the diverse nature of each site, the people that I work with, and our network of contractors and suppliers.
What do you like most about Tilhill Forestry?
Over the years I have been given numerous opportunities to gain further experience and learn new techniques of managing and supervising contractors. The company always strives to make the industry a safer and more fulfilling place to work. Tilhill Forestry allows you to plan your own time effectively and gives you the freedom to develop your core skills and also share new ideas. The team that I work with are very knowledgeable and supportive; I have gained a great deal from their experience.
How do you feel Tilhill Forestry contributes to its employees’ professional development?
Throughout my career, I have been continually supported by the Company who have given me the opportunity to undertake a range of training. My senior manager has been an excellent mentor and guided me through the challenges of forest management and fixed priced contract work. I am currently undertaking a Professional Development Award in Forestry which is being supported by Tilhill Forestry and BSW. With the continued support of the senior team, it is my wish to take on more responsibility and sole management of sites in the future.
What sort of changes are occurring in your occupation?
Work practices within the industry are continually evolving and changing with updated procedures and guidelines, which is helping us to carry out certain operations safer and more efficiently. I am now in the process of taking on more responsibility for several sites within the region and this has come about through Tilhill Forestry’s encouragement to allow its staff to grow and develop. Recently I have had further involvement with our quality and assurance team, particularly with regards to the external auditing of the various work we undertake.
How does a person progress in your field?
Always work hard, be inquisitive, make your time on site count and take the initiative. A good grasp of health, safety and environmental awareness is essential. Always take full advantage of any formal and ‘on the job-training’ offered to you.
What is your advice to anyone wishing to pursue forestry as a career?
Although formal training does have its advantages, gaining practical experience in the field is always a great asset. Never be afraid to ask questions!