Scots women urged to branch into forestry careers
Scottish Forestry’s Romena Huq, Eilidh Malclom, Dafni Nianiaka and Ros Wardman have joined forces to raise awareness of the variety and flexibility a forestry career offers women.
Forest Industries Adviser Ros said: “The misconception that it’s a male dominated environment is receding, our woodlands and associated industries are for all of us.
“There are a wide variety of roles, and a lot of what we do is social, speaking to communities and partners, and helping people manage woodland.
“The mechanisation and kit available now is also making the physical roles more accessible.”
Ros and her colleagues all switched into forestry after working in other careers or training for other industries.
Tree Health Officer Dafni, who switched over from a job in health and social care, said: “If you want to get out and drive lorries and use a chainsaw, you can, or if you’d rather be more office-based there are lots of roles there too.
“No matter your background, age or what you’re working in now, you will find a job that suits.
“It’s never too late to make a career change, if you believe you have something to offer, just go for it.”
No matter your background, age or what you’re working in now, you will find a job that suits. It’s never too late to make a career change, if you believe you have something to offer, just go for it.Dafni Nianiaka
The recently published Green Jobs in Scotland report showed women are markedly under-represented in green jobs.
Published by the Universities of Warwick and Strathclyde and supported by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), it also showed forestry as a growth sector for Scotland with a vital part to play in hitting climate targets.
Engagement Programme Manager Romena said: “I love my job, creating safe spaces and opening forests and woodlands up to people who may not see that they belong there, having that positive impact on people’s lives and directly contributing to battling climate change.
“The gender balance in forestry has very much improved in my time here, but there is still so much opportunity especially in those roles that are really based out in the forests and woodlands themselves.”
The group are keen to stress that there are roles across the whole of Scotland, with urban woodlands as much a priority as rural spaces.
Education Programme Manager Eilidh Malcolm is based in her home city of Glasgow.
She said: “I think the last few years have really brought home for many people that realisation of the importance of getting outside for our health and wellbeing, you can see that people treasure it even more because of the experiences of lockdown and restrictions.
“That’s even more acute in our cities, and we have to ensure that no matter where you grow up, you have access and opportunity to woodland and forests.”
The misconception that it’s a male dominated environment is receding, our woodlands and associated industries are for all of us.Ros Wardman
Elaine Ellis, SDS Sector Manager, said: “No matter where you live in Scotland, forestry has a range of opportunities that are worth exploring.
“Forestry is a vital part of Scotland’s drive to net zero and routes into forestry include apprenticeships, direct entry level jobs as well as going via the college and university sector.”
Ros’s work – including her focus on promoting forestry careers to women - has recently won her a place on a prestigious UK-wide forestry leadership course, the Emerging Leader Programme is a new course being run by the Institute of Chartered Foresters.
She said: ““I’m really looking forward to working with other forestry professionals from all over UK to develop understanding and solutions to the challenges faced by forestry.
Find out more
You can read Romena, Eilidh, Ros and Dafni's full profiles at the case studies section.
Find out more about the Green Jobs in Scotland report.
Go to Scottish Forestry to find out more about the industry.
The Green Jobs Workforce Academy has more on green jobs and industries in Scotland.