Graduate leadership programme

A man in Forestry England uniform holding up saplings ready to plant.

Forestry England graduate scheme

Are you looking to kick-start a career that encourages you to be adventurous, make a difference, and approach challenges with creativity and imagination?

We are looking for outgoing and enthusiastic individuals for our two-year graduate leadership programme that will give you varied, stimulating, and challenging work, allowing you to learn about sustainable land management and the UK forestry sector to become the leaders of tomorrow.

A two-year programme

Your first year will be spent in one of our District offices, either South (Lyndhurst, Hampshire), East (Thetford, Norfolk), or Central (Sherwood, Nottinghamshire). You will work across a range of departments from forest planning, land management, and recreation, to develop a deep understanding of how Forestry England operates. You will have the opportunity to learn about timber harvesting, identify opportunities to get more people to enjoy the nation’s forests, manage some of the most diverse habitats in England and working with specialist partners to deliver real change for the better.

In the second year, you will join our national operations team based in Bristol to apply the skills you have learned in the first year on a national scale, giving you the chance to think about the bigger picture and drive real change throughout the organisation. Current projects include the understanding the cultural and heritage value of the nation’s forests, and determining the species of trees we should be planting to ensure thriving forests for the next 100 years and beyond.

We will also help you get involved in projects that match your areas of interest to build your skills for your career after the programme.

Applications for the 2024/25 Graduate Leadership Programme are now closed.

We will be recruiting for the 2025/26 Graduate Leadership Programme in January 2025.

Lake in front of forest landscape on a sunny day

About Forestry England

Forestry England manages beautiful, diverse, and productive, publicly owned woods and forests. In fact, we manage more land and trees than any other organisation in England.

We aim to connect everyone with the nation’s forests and create rich landscapes for the benefit of people, wildlife, and climate. We’ve built over 1,800 miles of walking, running, and cycling trails, supply England’s largest amount of sustainably sourced timber, and conserve thousands of plant and animal species. We are the largest supplier of sustainably produced timber in England, selling around 1.3 million tonnes per year, enabling us to support the wider British timber and forestry industry.

We care for some of the country’s most important habitats, home to our rarest wildlife. We are recovering vital ecosystems and returning missing species to our landscapes.

We are always thinking beyond today, planning and planting forests that will help create a sustainable future. By joining us on the Forestry England Graduate Leadership Programme you can form the future of a prosperous forestry industry, help the green economy flourish, and make real change.

To find out more about Forestry England and the work we do please visit our About Us page.

Woman holding wooden stake wearing forestry gear

Why should you apply?

The Forestry England Graduate Programme gives you the unique opportunity to become one of the future leaders of the organisation. You will learn about all parts of the business from operational forestry, to planting new trees, to developing strategies, and be able to work with people across all levels from Foresters to the Chief Executive Officer

Previous graduates have gone on to become Head of Woodland Creation, Head of Land Management in the South District, and Environment and Planning Manager.

Development opportunities

We want our graduates to grow and thrive, and so development is a key part of the graduate programme. 20% of your time (or one day a week) is allocated for training and self-led study including a Level 5 Operational and Departmental Manager Apprenticeship and the opportunity to join the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF).

Forestry England and Civil Service benefits

Successful applicants will also have access to a wide range of Civil Service and Forestry England benefits, including flexible working and a generous pensions scheme.

Access to the graduate network

You will have access to the unique Forestry England Graduate Network and attend the annual Graduate Conference to connect with previous graduates. The network supports each other and shares opportunities to further your career.

Making a difference

Above all, you will be able to make a difference in shaping the future of the nation’s forests from first day you arrive with us. Forestry England encourages every member of staff to be adventurous, constantly pushing and improving the way we operate in big and small ways. We do it together and welcome diverse perspectives because we know this means we make better decisions.

Application criteria

Due to the popularity, there are some minimum requirements to apply to the Forestry England Graduate Programme. The following are essential and you must meet them for your application to be considered:

  • a 2:1 degree or higher (or international equivalent), or you are in your final year of university and expect to achieve a 2:1 grade or higher by the time you start the programme.
  • a full current driving licence (for use in the UK), as your role will involve travel to sites (forests, visitor centres and other offices), many of which are in rural locations and not served by public transport.
  • the right to work in the UK.

We welcome applications from all degree disciplines, especially those relating to the environment, sustainability, and business. The most crucial factor is your enthusiasm and desire to get involved, work together, be adventurous and demonstrate your interest in Forestry England and our values.

The application process

There are three stages in the 2024/2025 application process:

  • initial application with your CV and cover letter.
  • telephone interview.
  • assessments and final interview.

Applications and the telephone interview are managed through our partners, Graduate Recruitment Bureau (GRB). Candidates must create a profile through the GRB portal and follow the application steps. GRB will contact candidates that meet the essential requirements and have made it through to arrange a telephone interview.

The final stage consists of assessments and a panel interview, which will be held in mid to late March 2025.

Discover more...

A ranger wearing hi viz vest looks up at the trees

Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the graduation programme.

Two people wearing green Forestry England uniform outside holding a sapling.

Hear from current and past Graduate Trainees about their experiences on the programme.

A man and woman wearing Forestry England uniform smile as they look at a map on a desk

Diversity and inclusion are central values in our recruitment processes.