Courses funded by government, teaching skills like chainsaw maintenance, coppicing, woodland management, and marketing and selling timber are now available (from 4 February).
The Forestry Training Fund is for people considering a change of career or those who are seeking to build and diversify their skills in forestry.
The UK forestry and primary wood processing sectors support 32,000 jobs and contribute £2 billion to the economy every year. Secondary wood processing businesses support a further 60,000 jobs.
The government said it has committed to increasing tree-planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares a year by the end of the parliament to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The short, practical training courses will be paid for a by £700,000 allocation from the £750m Nature for Climate Fund.
It will help grow the forestry sector so that it has enough people with the right skills to plan, plant and manage new woodlands.
Examples of courses which are covered by the fund include:
- Chainsaw maintenance and cross-cutting
- Managing your woodland
- Planning and planting a new woodland
- Marketing and selling timber
- Fence and hedge laying
Forestry Minister Trudy Harrison said: “We need to continue the legacy of our skilled forestry workforce to increase tree-planting across the country.
“More woodland is vital for nature’s recovery and also essential to increase our security of UK grown timber, and deliver on our net-zero commitments.
“We have many fantastic foresters already, but there aren’t enough to grow and manage our woodlands at the planned scale over the coming decades.
“Our free practical forestry training courses will create green jobs, bring more people into the forestry sector and help existing workers build on and diversify existing forestry skills to meet this demand.”
Forestry Commission Chief Executive Richard Stanford said: “The Forestry Training Fund is a really valuable resource, accessible to anyone moving into the forestry sector.
“The Fund will help people build and diversify their skills in forestry by offering training in essential skills from woodland management to planning and planting, which are important to creating resilient forests and woodlands.
“I encourage people from all backgrounds and abilities interested to apply, whether that’s a farmer looking to upskill or an individual looking for a rewarding career in forestry.”
The government said it is offering 100% funding for eligible courses and expect grants to be in the range of £150-£3,000.
Funding will be paid directly to the training provider. Applications for funding to cover training courses can be made multiple times as long as it can be demonstrated that individual courses are developing a person’s career.
Courses will be available until March 2025. Applications are now open.
To view a list of training providers and apply for funding click here.
The government said his announcement forms part of the ‘England Trees Action Plan’ to ensure they have a sufficiently large and skilled domestic forestry sector to support a long-term increase in planting, establishment, and sustainable management to deliver government tree planting and net zero ambitions.
It also forms part of wider government action to create new green jobs across the country and boost the economy.