Four apprentices start at Forestry Commission in big investment

Cameron Williams, from Ayrshire, Daniel Buckle, from Attleborough, Andy Ross, from Ilkley, and Emma

Cameron Williams, from Ayrshire, Daniel Buckle, from Attleborough, Andy Ross, from Ilkley, and Emma Browne, from Norton, are the Forestry Commission's four new apprentices. Picture: Conor Matchett - Credit: Archant

The Forestry Commission welcomed four new apprentices to the organisation in its biggest investment into apprenticeships for decades.

New apprentices alongside Forestry Commission staff. Picture: Conor Matchett

New apprentices alongside Forestry Commission staff. Picture: Conor Matchett - Credit: Archant

Four young people from across the country are to take up trainee positions at the commission, including a trainee forester, a trainee in wildlife management, and two trainee forest craftspeople.

The new apprentices were each presented with £100 and a People's History of Thetford Forest by the volunteer group Friends of Thetford Forest, and will join four other apprentices in the East of England region.

Daniel Buckle, 23, and from Attleborough, said it was his lifetime dream to work at Thetford Forest and he was delighted to have been chosen by the commission.

He said: 'As a kid I used to come here for family walks around the forest and I was a gamekeeper just up the road.


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'It is a lifetime ambition to be a wildlife ranger. I already knew a few of the rangers that were here. It is something I have always wanted to be and to apply for the job, get the interview and then be told that I was the chosen one was a dream come true.'

The apprenticeships will last two years but do not have a guarantee of a full time job at the end of the contract.

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Tristram Hilborn, forest management director in the East of England, said the apprentices are a crucial step in maintaining the work of the commission.

He said: 'We can now deliver the benefits to society with the right people coming through the organisation. What we need is people with a variety of skills with a lot of different entry as well such as apprenticeships and graduates.

'This is the single biggest investment in apprentices for several decades. The apprentice programme is a really important part of making sure we have the right skills and talent for the future.'

Anne Mason, chairman of Friends of Thetford Forest, said: 'It is quite a few years ago since Friends of Thetford Forest had the idea of supporting students embarking on a career that involved forestry - and our first sponsorship went to a student from Easton College who volunteered at Lynford Arboretum.

'We were particularly pleased when the Forestry Commission decided to set up its own apprenticeship scheme and ensure that the knowledge and expertise of experienced foresters would be passed on to those just starting out.'

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