Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has marked Scottish Apprenticeship Week by welcoming eight new forestry apprentices to the Scottish School of Forestry at Inverness College UHI.
The male and female students successfully applied for the School’s first Modern Apprenticeship (MA) in Trees and Timber, a two year programme supported by Forest Enterprise Scotland, that will allow them to study and work at the same time.
Mr Ewing visited the School to personally congratulate the apprentices in their decision to pursue a life-long career in a hugely successful industry.
“Forestry in Scotland has never been in a stronger position than it is now and young people who are learning forestry skills are in high demand across the sector. It is very heartening to see that young women and men have recognised forestry is a hugely rewarding career path.
“The choices that these young people have made are not only great for them, but are also great for the sector and for the local area, which is keen to attract, train and retain young people.
“They have also entered forestry at a hugely exciting time, when forestry itself is about to embark on a new chapter with the creation in a few weeks of two new agencies – Scottish Forestry and Forestry and Land Scotland.
“These new agencies will be instrumental in helping Scottish forestry to deliver more benefits to people, the environment, communities and businesses over the next 50 years and beyond. It is heartening to know that more and more young people are lending their support to that endeavour.”
The eight new apprentices will receive on the job experience and training with Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) from May 2019 and will also develop their skills through a recognised SVQ2/3 qualification from the Scottish School of Forestry.
FLS, which comes into being on 1 April, aims over the next few years to increase the number of apprentices and other trainee routes in forestry roles as well as in professions such as civil engineering, digital and business administration.
It is anticipated that industry support for the apprenticeship programme will continue to increase and help to meet the current and growing demand within the sector for trained, skilled people.