Minister urges forestry sector to follow FLS lead

Rural Affairs Minister, Mairi Gougeon has called on more forestry businesses to follow Forestry and Land Scotland’s lead and do more to encourage young women into STEM related roles in the sector.

Ms Gougeon urged the industry to tap into a latent pool of talent after hearing of the experience of four women whose summer placements with FLS allowed them to gain experience and develop their skills to supplement and complement their academic studies.

The students had joined FLS thanks to a collaboration with Equate Scotland, which aims to promote and encourage the advancement of women in science, engineering, technology and the built environment, that is funded by Scottish Government.

Ms Gougeon, said: “Scotland has a remarkable pool of talent in its young people. Tapping into this is a vital part of helping Scotland stay at the forefront of innovation especially as people with highly valued science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills are increasingly in demand amongst a wide range of employers.  We want more young women in particular to study STEM and take up careers in STEM related industries and sectors.

“That is why I am delighted that Forestry and Land Scotland is playing its part in helping deliver on our shared ambitions.  Equate Scotland is doing a fantastic job of encouraging more women to look at and pursue career options like this – and of raising the profile of women in these roles with potential employers. 

“Forestry and Land Scotland offers a wide range of opportunities for young people and I hope that more businesses in forestry will follow their lead and encourage and enable more young women with talent, skills and qualifications into the sector.”

Millie Coleman, Jenny Holdsworth and Summer Hannah worked within the Geo-information Services team using of state-of-the-art technology to support forestry and land management operations across the country.

Hannah Humphreys, worked with FLS’s lead ecologist to support high profile species conservation work.

The student placements were based in Edinburgh and Inverness and run from June to August 2019. Forestry and Land Scotland is working with Equate Scotland, which is the national expert in gender equality through the STEM sectors.

Forestry and Land Scotland employs around 950 staff, with around a third being female.