Meet some of the graduates who have taken part in our Graduate Leadership Programme and discover their experiences during and after their placements.
Richard Wilkinson, Graduate Trainee 2022-2024
"I started the second year of the Forestry England Graduate Programme in September 2023. I joined Forestry England as a change to my career having worked in the insurance industry for around 10 years. I was excited to apply for, and be accepted to, the graduate programme as it gave me the opportunity to work for an organisation where I could really make a difference and understand the different areas of land management from conservation and sustainability to timber harvesting, to recreation. It’s been so rewarding to see how forests can make such a big difference to people’s lives"
Maeve Brittle, Graduate Trainee 2023-2025
“I joined Forestry England in September 2023 in the East District, after graduating with a degree in Geography from the University of Cambridge. In the short time I have been here I have been working on projects in the Forestry and Land Management, and Forest Resilience teams. It has been great to have a mix of practical work out in the forest and work in the office. I was given plenty of responsibility early on, with lots of support to facilitate the steep learning curve required to get to grips with forestry.”
Adam Harrington, Graduate Trainee 2023-2025
"I joined Forestry England in August 2023, in the South District after having studied Economics with Geography at Loughborough University. I wanted to join an organisation that makes a real difference and in the short time I’ve been with Forestry England, I’ve already been able to see the vital and impactful work that is done right across the district. This is extremely motivating. I have been given plenty of responsibility at an early stage, such as overseeing a contract for the planting of 70,000 trees. Additionally, I've had the chance to actively engage in hands-on forestry activities, which has been a great way to build my knowledge."
Sally Jervis, Graduate Trainee 2023-2025
"I started my role in Forestry England in August 2023, after a career change from working as a chef in the hospitality industry for seven years and subsequently graduating from the University of Sheffield with a degree in Ecology and Conservation Biology. Now as a part of the graduate programme I can say that I am proud to be part of an organisation that holds values which align closely with my own, encompassed by mutual respect for the worth and diversity of our natural environment alongside an intrinsic need to better social wellbeing simultaneously. The programme has presented me with a range of responsibilities and opportunities such as outreach activities in recreation and public affairs that have increased my personal development and understanding of the sector."
Tom André, Environment and Planning Manager, Yorkshire Forest District (Graduate Trainee 2021-23)
“I joined the Graduate Leadership Programme in 2021, after studying geography at university. My first year was spent in Forestry England’s South District, working across a huge range of landscapes from the New Forest to the Thames Basin Heaths. During this year I worked across all major teams and developed a particular interest in our forest planning and environment work. I then moved to the National Operations Team, based in Bristol, where I got more stuck in with specific project development and delivery. I worked on a mix of projects from investment proposals to organising community payback sentences to be served in our woodlands. The most rewarding project was probably working with our national Woodland Creation team, getting creative about how we engage big landowners like Local Authorities to create new woodland.
After six months into the second year, the perfect job for me came up in our Yorkshire Forest District, where I’m now based as Environment and Planning Manager. Here, I look after an expert team of ecologists, a forest planner and a heritage advisor. Together we act as a hub for the district, planning a large chunk of our land management work, whilst striving to protect and enhance the natural and historic environment. I’m lucky to be able be part of the district’s senior leadership team that works on big-picture strategic issues, whilst also getting into the nitty-gritty of things like forest planning or our forest wilding activities in my day-to-day.”
Beth Cambridge, Head of Woodland Creation
“I joined the Forestry England Graduate Programme in 2014 after studying Environmental Science at the University of Nottingham. I was based in Scotland during my time as a Graduate, as until devolution in 2019 the Forestry Commission used to cover both countries.
The Graduate Programme provided me with a brilliant grounding in forestry and land management and I was supported to take on a range of projects, from managing a conservation grazing site to developing invasive species plans.
After finishing the programme, I worked at our tree nursery in Delamere, Cheshire, before moving to Essex to take on an exciting role managing over 500 hectares of community woodlands around East London. This helped me gain the experience to work on the National Woodland Creation Team to set up and deliver a programme to create 2000 hectares of new woodland across England.
I am now Head of Woodland Creation, which is a hugely rewarding role, buying and leasing land across the country to create the forests of tomorrow. Throughout my career, Forestry England has supported my personal and professional development. I am currently studying for an Executive MBA to help me develop my business management skills and knowledge which will support me in progressing further in Forestry England.”