Meet the Graduates
A graduate's experience - Miriam Jones-Walters
"I joined the Forestry Commission Graduate Development Programme in July 2016. I didn’t take the traditional route onto a Graduate Scheme straight from university; my degree was in Natural Sciences and after graduating I worked as a research assistant and put more of my time and energy into sport than my job.
After deciding to focus more on my career, I looked at graduate programmes as a way to completely change sectors. As I didn’t have a background in Forestry, it wasn’t something I had considered before however the advert caught my eye amongst big companies, banks and consultancies and in the end it was the only scheme I applied for.
My first placement was in the South England Forest District where I spent time in a number of operational roles. I was based in the New Forest, which is a unique and beautiful place and everything I hoped the Forestry Commission would be! The year was not without challenge, I was required to quickly learn a huge range of new skills in operational forestry; but was supported by training and extremely knowledgeable and supportive colleagues.
Year two took me to the National Operations Team in National Office, Bristol. Whilst this placement required more time behind a desk, the steep learning curve continued and the daily challenges went from wading through waist deep brambles marking trees to presenting to the Executive Team. Towards the end of my two years I was successful in securing another very different role, and I am now working in the policy side of the organisation on EU Exit and future land management.
My overall experience of the Graduate Development Programme is that you get out what you put in. It offers amazing opportunities for those willing to push themselves out of their comfort zone to reach them. I am excited about my career ahead with the FC; I love being part of an organisation full of passionate and committed people who love what they do and that has a clear mission to benefit both people and the environment."