Institute skills paper engaged with by all four UK governments

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Last month, we sent our position paper on the forestry skills crisis to leaders across the country. The paper cited projected workforce shortages, a crisis in further and higher education and the lack of awareness of careers with trees. We stressed the urgent need for action and offered solutions to address the issues that will enable our sector to deliver on the associated net zero targets.

Our paper has received engagement from all four governments in the UK; the UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive.

England

Lord Goldsmith, Minister for the Pacific and the International Environment, responded to our paper  inviting us to meet with him and policy officials from Defra to discuss further. We look forward to meeting Lord Goldsmith in 2022.

Read his full response here

Alex Burghart MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Skills, from the Department for Education has replied in writing to our paper, detailing the department’s ongoing efforts and investment in green jobs to support the net zero target.

Although we are grateful for a response, the Minister’s response fails to address the specific problems related to forestry that we raised in the paper, and instead focusses on generic green careers. We will be contacting the department to request a meeting so that we can further explain the critical issues and push for action.

Read his full response here

Scotland

We received a written response from Scotland’s Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform, Màiri McAllan MSP. Her letter was very supportive of the Institute’s work in addressing the skills crisis and she was particularly interested in the idea of developing a leadership scheme and a Forestry Hub, committing to work together in the future on the skills agenda.

Read the full response here

Our Executive Director, Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor, and Senior Policy Manager, Jemima Cooper, had a very collaborative meeting with Ms McAllan on 16 November. They were joined by senior staff from Forestry and Land Scotland, Scottish Forestry and the Scottish Government where they discussed how to get more young people, particularly women, into the sector.


Northern Ireland

Although it is more concise than the other responses, we are pleased to have received a reply in writing from Edwin Poots MLA, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, where he requested a meeting.

Read his response here

Wales

Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor has had a productive meeting with the Deputy Minister for Climate Change in Wales, Lee Waters MS, and we continue to work closely with the Welsh Government.



As a member of the Environmental Policy Forum, we have tabled the skills crisis and our position paper for discussion at the next meeting on Monday 29 November. At this meeting, we will be able to discuss with fellow professional bodies how we can work together to get skills embedded in the curriculum and in government funding across the environmental professions, especially given this announcement from the Department for Education.

Thinking ahead, the skills agenda will continue to be a focus for the Institute in 2022.

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