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Meet Hannah Humphreys, one of four Careerwise placement students who will be working for Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) this summer, in partnership with Equate Scotland.

While studying Environmental Biology at Napier University, about to start her final year, Hannah hopes to gain valuable experience working on a range of applied ecology projects, including surveying deadwood insects, sorting and writing up data, and identifying and collecting animal droppings – a fundamental ability that every aspiring ecologist has to learn!

Building skills and experience

‘’During this placement I hope to gain skills and experience that I can take forward to my future studies and career in ecology,” says Hannah. “The Equate Scotland placement means I can enhance my future career prospects whilst being employed during the university’s summer break – it’s the perfect arrangement!’’

Forestry and Land Scotland is fully committed to addressing the gender imbalance internally and across the forestry industry at large, and Hannah’s appointment is a step in the right direction. The Institute of Chartered Foresters’ social media campaign ‘I Look Like A Forester’ was launched with a view to promoting equality, diversity and fair representation within the forest industries, challenging traditional assumptions about the workforce. Encouraging students like Hannah to get involved with organisations like FLS early in their careers helps to remove barriers to entry, and opens the door to a more diverse pool of talent.

Getting to know the forestry sector

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Hannah will be working with Kenny Kortland, Wildlife Ecologist for Forestry and Land Scotland. “The Equate Scotland scheme presents students with a great opportunity to gain valuable experience and to get to know people in the sector, which can be very important,” says Kenny. “For FLS it is ideal too, because we have an enthusiastic employee in a specialist field for three months. This increase in our staff resource allows us to develop some very useful projects.’’

Hannah and the other students given these placements also help FLS to see where we could be doing more to connect with female students and young people who study STEM subjects like science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The goal is to encourage more women into forestry, and increase the reputation of FLS as a first choice employer for women.

Hannah, who originally hails from Dingwall, has previously been involved in a number of environmental volunteering roles, such as tree disease detection through the Woodland Trust, swift surveys with the RSPB, and a residential position on Handa island for the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

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