Institute of Chartered Foresters launches leadership development programmes

The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) is delighted to announce the launch of two exciting leadership programmes aimed at developing the skills of both existing and aspiring leaders in our sector.

These leadership programmes, developed in partnership with Clore Social Leadership, offer a fantastic opportunity for those who work and volunteer with trees to develop the skills necessary to ensure our trees, forests and woodlands are managed to effectively deliver against multiple objectives, including planting targets, climate change mitigation, the biodiversity crisis and more.

Louise Simpson, Executive Director of the Institute, commented:

“At a time of increased economic, political and social focus on trees, ensuring the workforce is equipped to deal with the challenges of tree and woodland planting and management is now more important than ever. These programmes will deliver an informed, skilled and strongly interconnected cohort of tree professionals with the leadership skills to drive the sector forward and navigate future challenges.” 

Discover Programme 

This four-week online introduction to leadership is designed to provide in-depth insights into leadership styles and how to develop them further.  Successful participants will discover the key skills required to build their leadership potential, strengthen their networks and map their future development. 

Whether participants work in the public or private sectors, charitable organisations, run their own businesses, volunteer or operate independently, the Discover Programme is a great first step or refresh for those looking to develop their leadership skills in order to transform their organisations, communities and the world around them. No matter if participants are aspiring leaders, volunteers, new managers or seasoned CEOs, the programme will help them better understand themselves, their organisations and their ongoing development needs.

  • All levels of experience welcome
  • £50 + VAT
  • 2–4 hours/week commitment
  • 2 live classrooms
  • Self-paced learning


There are 50 places available on the Discover Programme – early application is encouraged to increase the chance of successful entry. To ensure a wide range of experience and backgrounds on the programme, places are limited to five per individual organisation and applicants will be contacted with further details following the application deadline of 31 August 2022. 

Find out more in the full Discover Programme outline

Emerging Leader Programme 

This six-month programme is designed to help emerging leaders in the sector build their leadership potential, strengthen their networks and drive both social and organisational change. 

The Emerging Leader Programme is a leadership development journey, highly subsidised through the Trees Call to Action Fund. Designed for those leading teams, projects, volunteers, and/or departments, the programme will offer access to a wealth of leadership development activities designed to help participants build the skills, knowledge, and networks needed to drive change effectively.

  • Clore Social Leadership Fellowship awarded upon successful completion
  • Up to £1,000 travel and training bursary to cover travel and future development needs identified by the programme
  • £150 + VAT
  • For sector leaders with 3–6 years’ experience
  • 20–24 days commitment


There are just 15 places available on the Emerging Leader Programme – early application is encouraged to increase the chance of successful entry. Applications for the Emerging Leader Programme are currently limited to those based in England, but discussions are underway to secure funding for applicants from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. If you would like to be contacted if funding is secured then please fill in our online expression of interest.

Competition for places will be strong and there will be an interview process to determine the final cohort (interviews will take place towards the end of October 2022). The application deadline is 30 September 2022. 

Find out more in the full Emerging Leader Programme outline


The Institute hosted a free webinar outlining the key features of each programme on 4 August 2022. The session featured a number of contributors, including Louise Simpson, Executive Director of the Institute; Paul Nolan OBE MICFor, Director of the Mersey Forest; Angharad Irvine, Director of Leadership Programmes at Clore Social Leadership, and David Elliott, Chief Executive Officer at Trees for Cities. 

These programmes are funded by the Trees Call to Action Fund. The fund was developed by Defra in partnership with the Forestry Commission and is being delivered by the Heritage Fund.

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