Q & A with Harvesting Regional Manager Iwan Williams

Growing Our People: An interview with Iwan Williams, Harvesting Regional Manager for the Southern region.

“The support within the company is second to none with the wide range of experience we have from graduates to Directors.”

What is your job role within Tilhill Forestry?

I am Harvesting Regional Manager for the Southern Harvesting Region which covers Wales and England (South of the M62). This also includes the overview of the supply of sawlogs into both the BSW Newbridge and Southampton Sawmills.

What do you do?  Tell us about your typical day?

There is no typical day in the life of a Regional Manager. I often find my weeks based around 1-2 days in the local office at Bala and the rest of the week travelling around the region visiting Harvesting Managers, customers and suppliers.  I find myself ’trouble shooting issues‘ and spend far too much time behind a keyboard…and not the musical type 🙂

How did you get into harvesting?

When I began my career in forestry I was always drawn to the harvesting side of the business. I enjoy the day-to-day challenges that the business throws at me and the need to make ‘on the spot’ decisions.

What do you like and not like about working in this industry?

Forestry is a relatively small industry and I enjoy the comradery that comes with that – even with our ‘competitors’. The element of working outdoors (although not as often these days) is appealing.  I often walk around a forest and think “someone pays me to do this……”

The current uncertainty within the industry does worry me, with Brexit looming over us and the lack of new planting in Wales and England I do wonder what the industry will be looking like when I approach retirement.

Why did you decide to work for Tilhill Forestry?

During my final year at Bangor University I noticed a job opportunity for a Graduate Forester with Tilhill Forestry and following 3 interviews I was offered a role as an Assistant Forester in North Yorkshire.

What do you like most about this company?

The support within the company is second to none with the wide range of experience we have from graduates to Directors. If you have a problem or query there is always someone who can help.

How do you feel Tilhill Forestry contributes to its employees’ professional development?

As I have previously mentioned, the support offered by Tilhill provides its employees with ideal opportunities to further their professional development. Tilhill also encourage their employees to become Chartered Foresters by both paying subscriptions and also allowing time to attend meetings etc.

What sorts of changes are occurring in your occupation?

Within Harvesting we are seeing less interest in entering the profession – this could be that we as an industry are not selling ourselves to the younger audience that are making important life choices?

How does a person progress in your field?

I’d recommend anyone that is considering entering the profession to talk to a local land based college or Forester. I started my career in Forestry by completing a two year National Diploma at Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, Glynllifon, which gave me a good firm practical and basic theoretical knowledge of the industry.

What is your advice to anyone wishing to pursue harvesting as a career?

Talk to us or a local contractor and gain some practical experience – it is a demanding job but very rewarding for the right individual.