Name: Ewan Batchelor
From: Cawdor, near Nairn
Job title: Assistant forest manager (graduate)
Works at: UPM Tilhill
Qualifications: HND Forestry from the Scottish School of Forestry at Inverness College UHI
WHAT DOES YOUR JOB INVOLVE?
I provide support to forest managers, and typical duties include planning and supervising forest operations and planting contracts, assisting with crop inspections, mensuration and silviculture, and developing long-term forest plans.
I also support the development of grant applications as well as maintain records and other company systems. The work varies greatly and a good proportion of it takes place outdoors.
YOUR JOB’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
My biggest challenges are similar to those faced by many professionals in all sorts of workplaces – juggling day-to-day and week-to-week priorities, dealing with the unexpected, ensuring contracts are delivered, and client expectations met. However, I am very much in the camp of getting stuck in and relishing any challenge presented – within reason of course.
BEST THING ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
The best thing about my role is the satisfaction of working in and with the natural environment.
Forests and woodlands are not just about timber production – I get to see some terrific wildlife and landscapes, and visit places few people get the opportunity to see.
I am fortunate enough to work with some excellent individuals, with fantastic experience and talents.
Working for a large forest management company such as UPM Tilhill also presents many opportunities for personal and professional development.
BEST CAREER ADVICE?
For those keen to embark on a career in forestry, my best advice would definitely be to take that leap and never look back. Opting to study is a good starting place.
I studied at the Scottish School of Forestry at Inverness College UHI – a fantastic institution where students get an excellent grounding in sustainable forest management.
Relevant work experience is equally as important as theoretical studies, and volunteering can help get your foot in the door, often opening up other opportunities as a result.
Furthermore I would strongly urge budding foresters to take pride in all their work efforts and draw on the experience of colleagues and seniors – keep asking questions and be inquisitive.
WHAT’S YOUR DREAM?
In the short term, I am looking to gain as much forestry experience as possible alongside completing my Bachelor’s degree. I hope to continue broadening my skillset and developing in a professional manner to gain chartered forester status.
In the longer term, I hope to be involved in some unique projects that are on the forefront of forestry in the UK and perhaps even further afield. I very much look forward to meaningfully participating in an industry that I genuinely feel most passionate about.