Tilhill Forestry reward excellent work

Forest Management student Jonathan Hawick from Inverness College UHI has won the Tilhill Forestry Award for Best New Planting Application following a report he prepared in his forestry policy and law module on woodland creation.

Jonathan was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy in the shape of an acorn by Phil Di Duca, North Highland District Manager for Tilhill Forestry at the Scottish School of Forestry, Balloch, along with £250. The 31-year-old currently works part-time for Forestry Commission Scotland.

Jonathan was tasked with developing a woodland creation operational plan for a hypothetical site near Evanton, similar to the plan most foresters will complete when trying to access grant funding for new woodland projects.

Jonathan, who is originally from Shetland but lives in Inverness, said: “Creating the plan was a great experience. I chose to develop a proposal based on a diverse range of coniferous trees so it had variety but would also be resilient to future changes. I had to decide which tree species to plant and work out how much grant funding my plan was eligible for. I was absolutely delighted when my lecturer informed me that I had won the award. It came as a big surprise but it’s great to be recognised and honoured in this way.”

As part of the company’s work to strengthen links with students, Tilhill Forestry presents awards to top performing forestry students at leading universities offering qualifications in Forestry. The company also runs a popular graduate placement scheme and a structured programme to grow the management skills of their staff.

Tilhill Forestry’s North Highland District Manager Phil Di Duca said: “It’s great to see students like Jonathan excelling in their studies and learning important skills such as how to draft a woodland creation plan.  Tilhill Forestry has a long association with Inverness College UHI and many students from the Scottish School of Forestry, based at Balloch, have gone on to work with the company. It’s an excellent college and some of our past and present employees have studied there. I was delighted to be able to present this prestigious award.”

Forestry policy lecturer Amanda Bryan, programme leader for the BSc Sustainable Forest Management, said: “The Scottish Government has a target of creating 10,000 hectares of new woodland every year. Foresters regularly work with land owners and managers to develop proposals to create and recover ground for new woodland creation and completing this kind of mock application is exactly the kind of work they will be doing when they leave university. Jonathan carried out his own assessment of the site and developed a plan which was first class in terms of quality and content.”

Inverness College UHI has been in operation for over 50 years and is an integral part of the local community.  Home to more than 6,500 students with around 200 courses on offer across nearly 30 subject areas, the College offers flexible learning methods to suit a wide variety of student needs and locations. 

Inverness College UHI is one of the largest partners in a group of 13 individual colleges and research institutions collectively known as the University of the Highlands and Islands.  The institution, which delivers courses tailored to the needs of the local business community, relocated to its new multi-million pound facility at Inverness Campus in August 2015.

Tilhill Forestry Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the BSW Timber Group was established nearly 70 years ago. It is a national company operating from a network of offices throughout the UK. The company provides a full range of consultancy and contracting services to the forest owner and forestry investor. Further information is available at www.tilhill.com

BSW is the most technologically advanced sawmill company in the UK employing over 1,300 people. The Company’s roots date back to 1848, and with seven sawmills in the UK and one in Latvia, has a production capacity of more than 1.2 million m3 of sawn timber which is distributed throughout construction, fencing and landscape markets www.bsw.co.uk
Together, BSW and Tilhill Forestry form a strong partnership in the forest industry that will deliver quality from beginning to end – from creating new forests through to producing timber end products.