A degree of excellence - Tilhill Forestry seeks quality graduates

4th December 2017

Hannah Richardson

(Tilhill Forestry, Stirling, Scotland, December 2017) – Tilhill Forestry is seeking graduates with drive, passion and enthusiasm who are interested in a career within the forest sector with the industry’s leading company.

High-achieving forestry graduates, or those studying for a degree or about to graduate in forestry or related subjects such as land management, environmental studies or horticulture, will be ideally placed to join Tilhill Forestry’s three-year graduate programme. Successful applicants are assigned to a district office or business stream where they learn every aspect of that area, including shadowing highly experienced colleagues. Graduate trainees are offered mentoring and are paired with a experience manager during their training period.

Tilhill Forestry Managing Director George McRobbie said: “This is a very exciting time to join the forest industry and Tilhill Forestry is a superb company to work for with a wide variety of roles across the UK on offer. There is the added benefit of being part of the BSW Group – BSW is the UK’s largest sawmill company.

“We are looking for graduates with drive, enthusiasm and passion for managing and creating forests and working outdoors.”

Tilhill Forestry offers all its employees a friendly and challenging work environment with good personal and career development opportunities. The company operates a unique management development programme that starts by building up your management skill sets in order to give them all the tools required to be our managers of the future.

Applications open in December with placements starting in June 2018. If you’re a recent graduate or studying for your degree, you can find out more about our graduate opportunities by visiting the careers section at www.tilhill.com  Applications should be emailed to careers@tilhill.com and the process closes on 28th February 2018.

Tilhill Forestry Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the BSW Timber Group, was established more than 65 years ago. It is a national company operating from a network of offices throughout the UK. The company provides a full range of consultancy and contracting services to the forest owner and forestry investor. Further information is available at www.tilhill.com

BSW is the most technologically advanced sawmill company in the UK employing over 1,200 people. The Company’s roots date back to 1848, and with seven sawmills in the UK and one in Latvia, has a production capacity of more than 1.2 million m3 of sawn timber which is distributed throughout construction, fencing and landscape markets www.bsw.co.uk

Together, BSW and Tilhill Forestry form a strong partnership in the forest industry that will deliver quality from beginning to end - from creating new forests through to producing timber end products.

Read about some graduates who have joined the Tilhill Forestry programme:

Mike Page BA BSc (Hons)

Mike Page is proof that it’s never too late to start a career in forestry.

The 34-year-old former commando army officer decided to leave the forces after five years and start a two-year arboriculture foundation degree at Askham Bryan College in York. He then attended the University of Cumbria for his third year where he converted his foundation degree into a Forestry degree.

Mike said: “I was living in York so it was convenient to study arboriculture at Askham Bryan College but it was always my ambition to get my Forestry degree and apply to work for Tilhill Forestry.

“I had a choice between working for the public or the private sector but after a forester friend gave me the advice that I should start my career in a commercial environment Tilhill was my first choice.”

Mike is now an Assistant Forest Manager for the Central Scotland District based in Dunblane. He supports two senior forest managers and covers a large area stretching from Perthshire to Aberdeenshire. Mike’s role so far has involved carrying out ‘beat up’ surveys which check the establishment rates of new trees, GIS mapping, applying for grants and supervising contractors. He has also been on a number of courses including health and safety management, the safe use of quad bikes, pesticide training and a first aid course.

Mike added: “Some of the things I learned in the army have certainly come in handy such as navigation skills and working to tight deadlines. The job really suits me as I was really keen to work outside some of the time.

“My best advice for people thinking of applying for the Tilhill Forestry graduate scheme is to get some work experience. It gave me lots to talk about in the interview and it is a useful way to offer evidence that you have engaged with the sector. So do a placement as part of your degree, or do work experience or even voluntary work during your studies.

“My job with Tilhill is everything I had hoped it would be and I’m delighted to be here. Changing career and going back into further education can be daunting but I’m so glad I did it and I feel really well supported in my new vocation.”

Hannah Richardson BSc

After finishing a degree in Environmental Science at Nottingham Trent University, Hannah Richardson joined Tilhill Forestry’s graduate scheme and hasn’t looked back since.

She is now an Assistant Forest Manager for the South West Scotland District with a wide ranging role that includes overseeing work in forests such as monitoring and supervising contractors, marking out sites, applying for grants and managing budgets.

Hannah said: “Half of the work is indoors and half is outdoors which is perfect for me and I am working in such a beautiful part of the country which is a real bonus.

“My degree was quite open in terms of specialising and I just happened to attend a talk by Tilhill at my university. Forestry particularly started to appeal to me when I realised I wanted a job where you get to spend a lot of time outdoors.

“I feel lucky that despite not having any direct forestry experience I was given a job with Tilhill. I’m so pleased I was given the opportunity. As a graduate trainee you are constantly learning on the job. You get involved in such a variety of work and it changes on a daily basis which makes it challenging but enjoyable. I highly recommend people to consider forestry as a career.”

Jude Fielding BA MSc

For Jude Fielding, studying forestry was a natural progression from his previous career in countryside estate management, and offered him a chance to follow in his father’s footsteps who has been working in Forestry for nearly 30 years. Jude joined Tilhill Forestry’s graduate scheme last year after completing an MSc in Forestry at Aberdeen University. He is now an Assistant Forest Manager based at Tilhill‘s Devon office.

“In my previous job I enjoyed being able to work outside managing new planting schemes for the renewable energy industry. Having grown up in rural North Wales with a forester as a father, I was given many opportunities to spend time outdoors. However, to follow in my father’s footsteps, I realised I needed to be qualified and doing a Masters at Aberdeen University was a logical choice,” Jude explained.

He says that he chose Tilhill Forestry as it seemed one of the best graduate programmes in the forestry industry.

“Joining a graduate scheme is one of the best ways to get into this industry, allowing me instant management experience and responsibility, as well as the potential to gain further on the job training and qualifications that would be difficult elsewhere. Tilhill’s training plan aims to give you the necessary training and experience within a few years to ‘graduate’ to become a fully-fledged forest manager.”

Jude’s role so far has involved timber measurements, harvesting supervision, planting scheme design and implementation including managing and supervising contractors. He has also been writing his first management plan, with a second soon to follow and has had the opportunity to try his hand at mapping, producing hazard and biodiversity maps for the management plan he is currently writing.

He says: “I am really enjoying it. I get to spend on average two to three days a week in the woods, in all types of weather. The woodlands I am helping to manage become your second office, and they are wonderful places to be.”

Jude’s advice for anyone considering joining Tilhill Forestry: “It’s a great company that will invest time in training you. The support you get in the office is fantastic and it’s one of the best graduate schemes I’ve seen in the industry. There are lots of opportunities to learn and visit other offices that might be carrying out other types of woodland management not available in your area, and this helps expand your experiences. The difference with Tilhill is that it’s a large company compared to most competitors and this offers a unique range of opportunities and experiences within the forestry industry.”

Alex Flinn BSc Hons

Alex Flinn is now an Assistant Forest Manager at Tilhill Forestry’s Bala office in North Wales. He was appointed last year after graduating from the University of Cumbria with a BSc Honours in Forest and Woodland Management.

Alex applied to join the Tilhill Forestry graduate scheme after researching potential employers on line and then deciding he wanted to work in the private sector.

He said: “From my first approach, Tilhill staff were very friendly and good at answering questions which all contributed to me wanting to apply. There was also an office in Needham near to where I grew up which appealed to me.”

Currently, Alex is involved in site visits, talking to sub-contractors, writing out work instructions, using GIS to map out sites and filling out felling licences among other work. He started in June 2016.

Alex added: “I really like the amount of work outside. There is a good balance with work inside and I am finding everyone extremely friendly and helpful. I feel like I am trusted with lots of responsibility but I’m never scared to ask questions.”

Unusually for a graduate, Alex left school with just a few GCSEs. He worked as a tree surgeon and carried out contract felling. It was this experience that helped him secure a place at the University of Cumbria. Alex says he would definitely recommend forestry to others especially if you like working outdoors. He also advises potential applicants to get some experience during their studies such as a placement.

He says he definitely made the right choice about joining Tilhill Forestry. “There are so many opportunities to learn more and progress your professional portfolio. I particularly like the trust managers have in you as a recent joiner. For instance I represented the company in a meeting after only five months in the job.”

Jamie Adcock BSc

Jamie Adcock joined Tilhill Forestry after graduating with a BSc in Forestry from Bangor University.

He says he chose Tilhill because he knew the company is the leader in the private sector and also came into contact with Tilhill during his third-year placement with the Forestry Commission. He was also attracted to the Company after learning that investment in training and staff is taken very seriously.

Jamie, 27, worked as a ski instructor in Canada and New Zealand after leaving school so he is pleased that he was assigned to Tilhill’s Dunblane office which means he can head to the mountains after work.

Originally from the Midlands near Loughborough, Jamie is an Assistant Forest Manager with a broad role and lots of responsibility.

He explains: “I’ve been planning and supervising forest operations with a mix of new planting and re-stocking operations. When I’m in the office, which is about half of the time, I am working on GIS mapping and grant applications along with organising contractors and materials. It’s very rewarding when I get on site to see work progressing and to see that I’ve helped to make an impact. I’m really glad I joined Tilhill as there is huge potential for career development.”

Asked whether he has any advice for potential applicants: “Make sure you have a driving licence and do a mid-year placement.  All of the students on my course who did placement have managed to secure work.”

Richard Hartley PGd

Richard Hartley joined Tilhill Forestry’s graduate programme after studying for a Post Graduate Degree in Forestry at Harper Adams University.

Richard, aged 35, was an army officer in the Royal Logistic Corps but has always been interested in forestry. He heard about Tilhill Forestry’s graduate scheme through his university’s careers fair and was also impressed when he visited a number of Tilhill-managed sites as part of his studies.

He explains: “I wanted a job that got me outdoors more. My father was a horticulturalist so that type of work is in my blood.”

Originally from Nottingham, Richard is now based at Tilhill Forestry’s Jedburgh office and is enjoying a varied role as an Assistant Forest Manager that involves new woodland creation schemes, supervising site preparation, pest and weed checks, wildlife surveys and timber measurement.

Richard said: “I am finding the job very rewarding and I’ve been given lots of responsibility in a short time. It’s pretty incredible to be involved with helping to change landscapes in a positive way. I’ve been involved with a site called Larriston near Newcastleton where we have been transforming a 600 hectare sheep farm into forest.

“I highly recommend Tilhill Forestry’s graduate scheme as it’s a great way to gain knowledge in a supportive environment. The company as a whole has so much to offer in terms of opportunities to work in forest management, on the harvesting side of the business, or with the investment team, and at different locations around the UK.”


For further information contact Suzi Christie PR Consultant for Tilhill Forestry on 07590 591140 or

e-mail suzi@blueberry-pr.co.uk