Forestry Skills Plan for England and Wales

6 February 2019

Forest industry working together to enhance the skilled workforce.

Nearly thirty forestry employers, associations and educational providers have pledged to work together to attract the very best of young and new talent into the sector.

The five-year Forestry Skills Plan aims to increase numbers of new entrants and improve the skills of the current workforce so that the growing forestry industry can reach its full potential in coming years.    

Published today, the plan was developed by the Forestry Skills Forum following the 2017 publication of research led by the Royal Forestry Society ‘A Forestry Skills Study for England and Wales’.

The plan tackles identified shortages of skilled forest machine operators, chainsaw operators and tree planters, and suggested a need for a more rounded set of practical and business skills in graduate recruits. It also aims to promote forestry as a career within schools, attract a diverse range of new entrants to the industry, and halt a decline in numbers of forestry degrees and forestry training in colleges

The Forestry Skills Plan has four themes: talent attraction, skills and technical knowledge, education provision and employer support.  The themes have been split into separate action plans that partners will develop and deliver over coming years.

Caroline Harrison, Confor’s England Manager said “Forestry isn’t just about trees, it is also about people. This plan will facilitate a long term, coordinated, targeted approach to tackling skills issues. All the members of the Forest Skills Forum are committed to using the plan to prioritise activity, work together efficiently and take control of the skills agenda in order to develop a skilled forestry workforce for the future.“

Notes for Editors

To download the plan or find out more about the Forestry Skills Forum see:

The Forestry Skills Forum (FSF) is dedicated to promoting education, skills, learning and development across the forestry sector in England and Wales. Members comprise the sector’s leading authorities, charities, companies, educational institutions and training providers. They represent all areas of the sector, including employers, trade associations, education providers, funders, research centres, and include specialists in all age groups: early years, primary, secondary, further and higher education. The Forum is an independent group, supported by Forestry Commission England.

The primary objectives of Forestry Skills Forum are:

  • Support the development and delivery of a Skills Action Plan
  • Challenge and encourage the industry and employers to take the lead with the skills and learning agenda
  • Inform and influence qualification development and professional/educational interaction
  • Represent the sector on education, learning and development issues