Nurturing future foresters - The Heart of England Forest

Jake Phillips, our new forestry intern

Ever mindful of the need to keep handing down the hard-earned skills that our team possess to the next generation, the Heart of England Forest is launching an internship scheme which will allow budding foresters of the future to tap into that expertise.

Passing on practical skills

The first student to join the scheme is 20-year-old Jake Phillips, who has just finished his first year studying Countryside Management at Harper Adams University in Telford. Jake has already spent time working with our volunteer team and jumped at the chance to apply for the internship. “Although I have spent the first year of my course learning various countryside-related modules, including forestry, the environment, and public and recreational use of land, the chance to learn the practical side of the work and gain experience in the ‘real world’ will prove invaluable”, he says.

Eventually planning to secure work as a ranger, Jake will join the team to work full time throughout the second year of his course before returning to university to complete his final year. “My hope is that the work placement with the Heart of England Forest will provide me with enhanced skills and a positive reference when I eventually apply for a full-time job that uses the broad range of knowledge I’ve learnt”, he says.

A variety of skills

Each year, successful candidates will join our team to learn more about the range of tasks involved in ensuring the Heart of England Forest achieves its aims, and encourages both visitors and wildlife.

Ideal for a gap year student, middle year placement or for a student completing a post-qualification year, the internships will promote practical forestry skills including planting and maintenance, working with our staff team, volunteers, corporate supporters and contractors to achieve the vision of 30,000 acres of contiguous woodland.

I’m thrilled our new internship programme is off the ground,” says Beth, Chief Executive of Heart of England Forest. “Jake will be a real asset to the Heart of England Forest team and this is a fantastic opportunity for him to learn from our head forester and wider team members.”

Along with the practical woodland management work, additional activities in which interns will engage in are mowing woodland rides to encourage public access, maintaining our hedgerows, as well as project planning, wildlife surveys, woodland planting and creation. New interns will develop the skills they’ll need to forge a forestry-related career.

While the posts will not only allow the interns to develop their skills and experience in woodland creation and management, they will also be supported to undertake their own specialist project across the duration of their time with the Heart of England Forest team. It is hoped that evidence gathered as a part of this project will form a portfolio to demonstrate the skills and experiences they have gained throughout their internship. The Heart of England Forest will also benefit from interns bringing new ideas to the Forest, increasing our team’s capacity, which in turn will enable us to encourage more people and wildlife to the Forest. We are looking forward to being able to support our future foresters.

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