A new initiative has been launched in response to the growing demand for a more flexible approach to apprenticeships in the forestry sector.
The Fife Forestry Shared Apprenticeship Scheme is a pilot and has been established in response to concerns from the forestry industry about an ageing workforce and shortage of new entrants as well as the ability of forestry businesses to employ new staff and provide continuity of work all year round.
Employed by Rural Skills Scotland Ltd (RSS), a not-for-profit company, the Apprentices will undertake a Modern Apprenticeship in Trees & Timber and a number of industry-recognisedtraining courses.
Apprentices of the Fife Forestry Shared Apprenticeship Scheme
Stewart Christie, Director at Rural Skills Scotland said, “It is our hope that by developing this shared apprenticeship model we can encourage micro and small forestry businesses to provide training opportunities for young people, without them facing the burden of employing someone on a full time basis.”
Forestry Commission Scotland’s, Head of Social & Planning Policy, James Ogilvie added, “The forestry sector is characterised by small businesses, many of which need extra staff but for periods of time only. This approach is a great way to test the shared apprenticeship model and I am pleased that FC Scotland is helping to partner this pilot.”
After their initial training, the Apprentices will be placed with a variety of forestry businesses from the public and private sector in order to give them a range of industry experience. As employers, RSS will pay the wages of the Apprentices with placement providers making a small contribution towards project costs for the time they are with them.
Maggie Mitchell, Director of Business Development for Falkland Estate Trust shares “We are delighted to be part of this pilot and have offered two of the Apprentices placements on the Estate where they are consolidating their training. In the short time that they have been on site we can see the benefit of this approach to both the young people and the business”.
This programme is supported by Forestry Commission Scotland, Our Bright Future and Fife Counci,l as well as a wide range of private industry organisations.