About the Graduate Leadership Programme

Updated 23rd November 2021

You will manage or support with projects in an operational forestry environment. Examples include delivering woodland creation, planning forestry operations, recreation opportunity scoping, and community consultation. For this you will need to quickly learn a wide range of forestry terms, skills, and knowledge.

There will be lots of opportunities to work outdoors, especially during your first year in District. However, there will also be periods that are more indoor-based and involve managing projects effectively and efficiently to deliver in time and on budget. You could be involved in writing a policy document on a subject such as recreation facility management, pests and diseases, sustainable forest management or community development.

You will also be supported by a network of previous graduates who will meet you as part of your induction and will stay in touch throughout your two years and beyond.

Experiences of past Graduates on the programme.


We have up to 2 places on the 2021/22 Graduate Leadership Programme based in England. All of your placements will be in England.

The first-year placement will be based in East District (likely based from the Thetford Office) or South District (likely based from Queen’s House in the New Forest). This placement will focus on learning about the different functional departments (e.g. operations, planning, environment, recreation) and will give experience of operational delivery. In the second-year placement, you will join the National Operations Team and have the opportunity to develop policy, scope new projects, and support delivery of nation-wide programmes.

For your first move, you will be expected to find accommodation and move your belongings at your own expense.  However, if you have particular trouble finding suitable accommodation which can be the case in more rural and remote areas, we will try to provide local knowledge/support to help source suitable rental accommodation.

For any subsequent move required for work, you will be supported by Forestry England.

Available Support

Although Graduates are required to be flexible, if you have a disability, health condition and/or caring responsibilities, reasonable adjustments will be made to accommodate these.

Please get in touch at graduateprogramme@forestryengland.uk if you want to ask anything further on this.

Training and Development

You will have the opportunity to dedicate 20% of your time across both years for training and development.

You will be supported from the day you start the programme with an induction period which will help you find your feet. Alongside support from your line manager, you will have access to senior managers across the organisation who can act as mentors.

These are some of the personal development things our graduates have done:

• Project Management Training and Exam (Accredited Project Manager APM)
• Attended our in-house Management Development Programme (5 modules)
• Received 360 degree feedback after each placement
• Worked with a coach on personal challenges
• Shared experiences and gained knowledge from a senior mentor
• Joined the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) or other relevant institutes
• Developed a network of contacts across the organisation
• Joined steering/working groups