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Young people from a wide range of backgrounds are applying their newly acquired skills to careers in forestry thanks to Forestry and Land Scotland’s (FLS) apprenticeships programme. 

FLS is supporting 40 apprenticeships (spanning Trees and Timber, Mechanical Engineering Services, Procurement, Finance and Data Science, Business Admin.), and which include seven Mid-Year Forestry students who are on a 12 Month Placement as part of a Work-Based Learning  programme.

Jessica Weetch, a student with the University of Stirling, is a Data Science Graduate Apprentice who started with the FLS GIS team six months ago.

Jessica said;

“The apprenticeship has already let me develop my initial skill set as a data scientist by combining the theoretical elements of my degree to the practical elements of my work. I’ve been involved with a variety of projects across the organisation that have given me both an understanding of the scope of FLS’s work, and a unique insight into how so much of it hinges on data and data management.  

“It can be challenging to do a degree at the same time as working but I’ve enjoyed the support of an incredibly understanding team. It has been really enjoyable to diversify my skill set in this way and I cannot recommend highly enough the FLS graduate programme.”

Graduate Apprenticeships are supported by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). They enable businesses to access high-level skills and offer a new route for people to gain degree-level, industry recognised qualifications backed by leading universities and colleges across Scotland. Funded by the Scottish Funding Council since 2021, Graduate Apprenticeships support sectors that have a need for highly skilled jobs.

Dr Mario Kolberg, Programme Director of the BSc Graduate Apprenticeship in Data Science at the University of Stirling, said:

“We have been pleased at the response to our BSc Graduate Apprenticeship in Data Science, combining the University's strength in data science with the industrial experience of our partners.

“The programme provides degree-level study for students in full time employment, who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to engage in university study or to train in the rapidly growing area of data science.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption and posed an enormous number of challenges to businesses across the world, including here in Scotland, and our graduates will play a huge part in the recovery. Graduate Apprenticeships support the economy by providing a new route into education for many, whilst offering employers opportunities to upskill existing employees or to attract new talent.”

The benefits for FLS of working with colleges and Universities across Scotland, along with Skills Development Scotland, include being able to increase the number of apprentice placements that are supported and being able to show young people that forestry and conservation work depends on a huge variety of support roles as well as front line staff.

Kirsty Whitehead, FLS Learning & Development Manager, said;

“Apprenticeships are a great way to attract more young people into the organisation. The range of opportunities we can offer means that people with a wide range of skills and knowledge can apply their learning to the forestry and conservation work that we do.

“It’s a great way to create more opportunities for people to get into green jobs and help boost Scotland’s green recovery.”

Scottish Apprenticeships, which provide thousands of opportunities to get a job, get paid and get qualified across Scotland every year, are a crucial part of the Young Person's Guarantee, providing thousands of opportunities for young people affected by the pandemic.

Apprenticeships can help to drive equity of opportunity and give employers, like Forestry and Land Scotland, the tools and support to be inclusive in recruitment.

To find out more about how Scottish Apprenticeships work and how to get involved visit


Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.
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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 07785 527590 or