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Case Studies > Forest Student Placement

Glen Tanar Estate

Case Study Forest Student Placement Glen Tanar Estate
Case Study Forest Student Placement Of the many issues facing rural businesses, a shortage of key rural skills is a major concern. There is a huge shortfall in the number of people taking courses in estate maintenance, forestry and farming. At Glen Tanar Estate in Royal Deeside, the skills shortage within forestry is an area where owner Michael Bruce has focussed a great deal of his effort and attention over recent years.

The estate is raising awareness and encouraging interest in careers in the forestry industry by working in collaboration with Aboyne Academy and other local estates with a forestry open-day initiative. This programme gives a whole secondary school pupil year group first-hand experience of what estate forestry involves.

In addition to this Glen Tanar offers work experience blocks for students preparing to learn at the Scottish School of Forestry in Inverness. The estate also gives casual and seasonal work to forestry students at Aberdeen University which helps them gain valuable practical experience, an element of their studies that is critical to their future success in the industry.

Amongst its permanent forestry team, Glen Tanar has also encouraged mature people from related industries, like farming, to take up forestry as a second career. The new Forestry Foreman at Glen Tanar, Luke Horsfall will be starting a distance learning package with the Scottish School of Forestry in autumn this year. Contractors who work on the estate are also being supported to up-skill their forestry knowledge and skills through distance learning.

Practical placements for HND students who are studying forestry are also supported at Glen Tanar. Most recently they welcomed Heather Coyle, a student from the Scottish School of Forestry (SSF) at Inverness College UHI. Heather, from Glasgow, decided to take her love of working outdoors to the next level by applying to study forestry.

A typical placement will see the student challenged to put their years of study of theory into practice. Whether it is dealing with GPS systems, collecting and interpreting data, plant and tree identification, or assessing natural regeneration on the estate, the students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and further develop and bed-in their rural skills with practise.

Commenting on her recent placement, Heather said: “I’m so grateful that places like Glen Tanar are willing to offer something like this, because they’re assuming a risk in taking on a student. But they are of course helping students to gain invaluable skills for their careers.

“I cannot stress enough how important a placement like this is for students, and would like to express my sincere gratitude to Glen Tanar for their willingness to offer something so valuable for new entrants to the industry.”

Michael Bruce added: “We regularly host students on placements from SSF. The practical, hands-on elements of forestry are absolutely essential skills to learn. That is why we try to give as many opportunities to forestry students as well as provide on going skills training for our existing staff. At a time when the forestry industry is suffering from a significant skills shortage I am pleased that we can play our own small part in developing future foresters at many levels.”
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