What was you drive and motivation to undertake your chosen apprenticeship?

I have worked in the forestry sector in admin for over 20 years, with the Forestry Commission and with Scottish Woodlands Ltd but had recently taken on a technical role in Scottish Woodlands, so when the opportunity to do the Professional Forester Degree Apprenticeship alongside my new role was offered, I thought it was just what I needed to gain the extra knowledge and qualifications to enable me to do my job better.

How has the apprenticeship programme challenged you both professionally and academically?

Managing my time has been the biggest challenge, trying to manage workload alongside the degree deadlines is a balancing act when you’re already in a job role, have staff to manage and a family at home. 

Initially, I was concerned about writing assignments, referencing, all the reading and new learning. However, I think my background in admin has really helped and once I got started, the academic side of things is actually perfectly manageable.

What opportunities has the programme offered? 

Professionally, the company I work for, Scottish Woodlands Ltd, have been great at offering me opportunities to progress. The degree apprenticeship for me is the icing on the cake if you like, to give me a chance to get a degree in my chosen profession. 

The opportunity to do something different, meet new people on my course, who are from all different backgrounds, has been great and we learn a lot from each other with our different ideas and ways of working. Also learning forestry from the range of tutors and professionals, as well as the people I work with, is great for my progression.

How are you utilising the skills learnt from your apprenticeship within the workplace?

Every day I can put the things I’ve learnt into practice. My managers know which modules I’ve covered and make sure my work can incorporate the subjects. I feel everything I have learned so far is helping me do a better job so, although it is hard work, it’s really rewarding.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about completing an apprenticeship? 

Go for it!  Doing the job is really how you learn, working with experienced people who can teach you but the extra knowledge you get from the university modules, alongside the on the job learning through the apprenticeship, really gives you a much broader understanding of the role and the sector as a whole. It’s hard work but really worth it for the knowledge and experience you gain.

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