Forest workers, also known as woodsmen or forest craftspeople, promote the wellbeing of our forests. They work toward improving the quality of forests and maintain the beauty of our landscape. Are you passionate about forest conservation and love practical work? If so, this could be the career for you.
What do Forest Workers do?
Forest workers focus on protecting, conserving and improving the quality of water catchment areas, woodlands and forests. To achieve this, they:
- Surveying forests to establish tree density
- Planting new species of trees
- Clearing undesirable and infected trees
- Treating forests with pesticides and insecticides
- Preventing hazards such as forest fires
- Erecting fences and footpath signs to protect recreational areas
- Maintaining fire-fighting equipment
Forest workers spend 37 hours a week on the job. This involves part-time and weekend work. Since foresters typically work outdoors, they can be exposed to unfavorable weather conditions.
The work is physically demanding and somehow dangerous, hence they are required to wear protective clothing, such as boots and helmets.
Salaries for forest workers vary with the level of experience in the job as shown below:
Level of experience
Starting forest workers
Experienced forest workers
Source: National Careers Service
Although academic qualifications do not play a fundamental in getting started as a forest worker, having GCSE grades in math, English and science improves your prospects. You need previous work experience in forestry, as well as certificates of competence in the following areas:
- Chainsaw use
- Chipper use
- Operation of a forwarder
- Operation of a harvester
To gain experience, you can volunteer in the following organizations:
You can also enter the profession through the following forestry courses:
- ABC Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2 Certificate in Practical Environmental and Conservation Skills
- BTEC Level 2 Certificate and Diploma in Horticulture, and Land-based Technology
- Lantra Awards Level 2 Certificate in land-based activities.
- BTEC Level 3 Certificate and Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture, Horticulture and Land-based Technology
- NPTC Levels 2 and 3 Diploma in Work-based Trees and Timber
- Diploma in Environmental and Land-based Studies
Alternatively, you can get started through an apprenticeship scheme.
Important Skills and Abilities
To be an effective forest worker, you should have the following skills and abilities:
- A reasonable level of physical fitness to execute your duties effectively
- An interest in outdoor activities
- Good practical and problem-solving skills
- Good interpersonal and communication skills
- Be Aware of occupational health and safety matters.
Training and Development
To develop your career as a forest worker, you should work toward attaining the following professional qualifications:
- Level 2 Certificates of Competence in chainsaw and related operations, all-terrain vehicle handling or forest machine operations.
- Level 2 Work-based Diploma
- Level 3 Work-based Diploma
The Institute of Chartered Foresters offers membership schemes, which you can join to demonstrate your professionalism to potential employers.
Although some forest workers operate on a freelance basis by securing work on short-term contracts, others find full-time jobs in:
- The Forestry Commission
- Private estates
- Local authorities
- Conservation organizations
- Forest management companies
With experience, you could become a:
- Forest officer
- Forest ranger
Visit the following websites for job openings and more occupational information:
This career gives you a chance to embrace and give back to Mother Nature, while earning a decent living. So if you think you have the right attributes then this could be the career for you.