Executive Director chairs Defra’s Nature Skills Roundtable

The Institute’s Executive Director, Louise Simpson, is today chairing breakout discussions at Defra’s Nature Skills Roundtable, part of the UK Government’s Green Jobs agenda. The workshop will be attended by a range of stakeholders, including Sally Hayns, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, and Tess Howe, Membership and Business Development Manager at the Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture.

The Green Jobs Delivery Group, on which Louise represents the Institute and our members, is focussing on nature as a priority area and knows that there is a need to improve evidence of skills and workforce needs. Defra recognises that forestry is a key sector when it comes to nature and biodiversity goals, and has a better understanding of its skills and workforce requirements than comparable sectors.

Louise will champion forestry skills requirements and manage discussions on barriers to entry and opportunities so that the group can determine what action is required. For forestry, this includes low awareness of forestry careers among young people and career changers, challenges in forestry education, current workforce shortages and the need for professional foresters who can deliver the complexity of sustainable, modern forestry.

Succeeding Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor on 1 July as the Institute’s new Executive Director, Louise is also now busy meeting with partner organisations and establishing a new team at the Institute.

For more on the forestry skills crisis, read our 2021 position paper.

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