Graduate plan

Scottish Woodlands invests in home-grown talent

Pippa Paterson: learning as you go

A forestry business is addressing the skills challenge head-on by investing in a record number of graduates and now almost 40% of managers in the company are “home-grown”.

Ralland Browne, managing director of Scottish Woodlands, said: “We are experts at growing trees and at growing our own future managers and leaders.

“Forestry is a rapidly-growing profession and we need lots more skilled people in all areas of our business.

“85% of those who have completed the programme are still with us, which is a great retention rate. I look forward to welcoming many more highly impressive young people onto the scheme and growing more of those future leaders.”

Scottish Woodlands – which employs more than 200 people in 18 offices across Scotland as well as northern England, Wales and Northern Ireland – also has a close eye on diversity. Of the 12 graduates still going through the programme, 6 are male and 6 are female.

In total, 33 young people have been recruited on to the two-year graduate development programme – and the company is currently advertising for eight more in its 2022 graduate intake.

This is the highest annual intake to date, and the new recruits will work in a variety of locations and learn about forest planning, new woodland creation, timber harvesting, grant applications, working with contractors, forestry finance and much more.

In addition, they are joining a company 80% owned by its employees.

Pippa Paterson, who joined the graduate development programme in September 2020 and is based in Perth, said: “I’ve loved all the different elements of the programme. I’m a very practically-minded person, so the idea of learning as you go really appealed to me.

“I can’t believe how much I have packed into the first year and a bit.”

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