To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Lesley Adams FICFor is the Director of Symbiosis Consulting.
Why did you choose a career in arboriculture?
When I left school, I wasn’t aware of courses in conservation and didn’t have an appetite to stay on for higher education. I was keen to get out into the world of work and therefore chose a vocational course at agricultural college. I enjoyed being outdoors, had an idea that I’d like to work with trees and also liked the machinery maintenance side of arboriculture at the time. This was of more interest to me than the scientific side of arboriculture, which came later. However, as I trained, the more I learned about the industry, it grew on me.
What do you like most about your job?
I still relish the opportunity for days outside looking at trees. I’m still not good at sitting in the office writing reports and so I make sure I still spend more time on site than I do in the office writing reports. In recent years I’ve undertaken some specialist work involving listed landscapes and historic and veteran trees and I enjoy the challenges associated with the unique situations that present themselves.
Do you think the sector is doing enough to attract a more diverse workforce?
In terms of attracting more women into the industry, I would say a definite ‘yes’. I believe the increasing number of women working in Arboriculture and Forestry is a good news story. Thirty years ago, being the only woman at a CPD event was the norm. Now, women are well represented. I think that the industry still has a distance to cover in terms of diversity for people from other backgrounds but gender is not and has never been an issue, in my opinion.
How can the Institute support women in forestry & arboriculture?
The best support is to encourage professionalism and everything associated with it – Read the code of conduct, which requires professional members to act with Integrity, treat others with Respect, take Responsibility for your actions etc. Promoting the code of conduct and using this to underpin the Institute’s core values will ensure that everyone feels included in their professional life.