Attracting new talent to the forestry industry

If you enjoy encouraging and motivating people and would like to share your knowledge with our future forestry workforce, then a new mentoring scheme from Lantra Scotland could be just what you’re looking for.

Recent research has highlighted an increasing need for new talent in forestry over the next 10 years, particularly in contracting, which has traditionally faced recruitment challenges. The forestry sector is now planning to address this by introducing a programme of internships, based upon an existing scheme for agriculture that has been running successfully for the past six years. The farming programme has a mixture of basic training in areas such like health and safety and tractor operations, coupled with work experience on farms.

Earlier this year, on behalf of the Scottish Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Leadership Group, Lantra hosted a consultation on the proposal to identify what would be of most benefit to the forestry sector and how such an initiative might work.

Liz Barron-Majerik, Lantra Scotland’s Director, explained what came from the consultation: “Discussions identified a need for an entry level programme with relevant work experience and training in core technical skills, which would also provide progression opportunities to Modern Apprenticeships, further education or employment.

“We concluded that, to attract new talent, it really was essential to give people the chance to have structured experience of working in the sector.

“In order to make this happen, Lantra are making a call for industry mentors who are keen to help develop such new entrants, and will provide training and support for them. We are looking for people from a range of backgrounds, to volunteer and provide work placements lasting from two to six months, either full-time or part-time.

“At the most basic level, mentoring helps someone with experience to share their knowledge and skills with someone who is less experienced and wants to learn more. Mentors provide support to the new entrant, helping them to understand their role in the business and develop their career path. They also provide a listening ear if their mentee is facing any problems or challenges.

“If done well, mentoring can be a mutually beneficial learning experience and a way of improving the morale and skills of both parties. Free mentor training and support will be made available to get things started.

“Once the pool of mentors has been identified, we can provide more details about the programme itself, which will help meet the needs of forestry-specific businesses now and in the future.  

“We hope that this will become an alternative entry route for new entrants to the forestry sector and help to satisfy the growing demand for more forest workers, as well as opening up other opportunities for progression”.

If you would like to help ensure the future of our sector and become a mentor, or just want to find out more, contact Liz Barron-Majerik on 01738 479709 or email Liz.Barron-Majerik@lantra.co.uk