New project encourages pupils to look at forestry and wood careers

9 September 2021

School pupils in Scotland are being encouraged to consider forestry and wood processing as a career choice under a new partnership between Confor and the Young Engineers and Science Clubs (YESC).

The partnership will deliver a project in up to 50 schools on building in a low-carbon, sustainable way with timber - including a focus on COP26, the global environmental super-summit which comes to Glasgow in November. 

“We want to help [secondary school] pupils understand much more about how we grow and use trees and timber and view the sector as a future career choice,” said Stuart Goodall, Confor CEO. “Our industry is growing rapidly and it’s important that we tap into young people’s interest in both technology and environmental issues to show them how important forestry and wood is to tackling climate change. 

“At the same time, it can offer them exciting, inspiring careers - in an industry that is vital to delivering the green economy of the future.” 

With financial support from the Scottish Forestry Trust, Confor has entered into a three-year partnership with the YESC programme. Backed by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, YESC supports teachers and business and industry who are offering careers related to STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). 

The programme aims to develop young people who are thinking about STEM careers and to help them to find the “solutions to the challenges and opportunities which climate change and digital transformation present”. It develops and delivers “exciting hands-on activities which help young people understand the challenges and involve them in creating the solutions”. 

Mr Goodall added: “The range of careers and opportunities in the forestry and wood processing sector is huge, but often little understood. This is a great opportunity to give hundreds of pupils interested in technology, science and engineering, an insight into a sector with a great future. 

“Scotland’s wood processing facilities are among the most advanced in Europe, and there are a vast range of exciting careers all along the forestry and wood supply chain. 

“This project introduces pupils to building with wood - a truly renewable material. We use it, reuse and recycle it, and meanwhile we can grow more. While trees are growing, they sequester carbon - and then we lock that carbon up in wood products. Wood is also making a huge difference to decarbonising construction by replacing ‘carbon-heavy’ materials like steel and concrete.”