An intensive eight week land-based skills course has been given official approval for those transitioning out of the military.

The course, developed as part of an innovative partnership between the Forestry Commission, Plumpton College in Sussex and the Royal Forestry Society (RFS), will lead to the RFS Cert Arb/Forestry.

It is the first land-based skills course to have been approved by the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) – the MoD official provider of resettlement support for all the Armed Forces. It aims to raise awareness of the forestry industry within the military and the valuable transferable skills that ex-service people have that would suit the sector.

The first courses begin in September when they will be open both to those who are leaving the military and to civilians.

Simon Lloyd, chief executive of the Royal Forestry Society, said: “Forestry is a dynamic and growing sector which needs to attract new talent to continue to thrive.

"We are proud to be a partner in what is the first land-based training programme to be offered through Careers Transition Partnership (CPT) to personnel whose terms of service in the Forces are coming to an end.

“There are many transferable skills those with a Forces background can bring to forestry. The RFS Level Two Certificates are recognised as the ‘gold standard’ for demonstrating both practical and theoretical competence and will provide a springboard for those leaving the Forces to go on to have a rewarding career in the forestry and countryside sectors.”

The course theory and practical elements have been developed by the partnership with employability in mind. It includes theory units such as tree ID, introduction to diseases and tree biology as well as training in competency tickets such as chainsaw maintenance and cross cutting, tree felling and the use of wood-chippers.

At the end of the course students will be equipped with the basic knowledge and certificates of competence to find employment and progress within the industry.

Jeremy Kerswell, Plumpton College Principal said: “We are very pleased to launch this new partnership with the Royal Forestry Society and the Forestry Commission to encourage military leavers into the world of forestry.

"I know their highly transferable skills and work ethic will fuel the next generation within this sector which is hungry for skilled workers. Plumpton College has ambitious plans to continue forging relationships with organisations to ensure the success of land-based industries and I know that this new partnership is another step in the right direction to achieve just that."

Matthew Woodcock for Forestry Commission added: “Trees have countless benefits, from helping us in the fight against climate change, to providing raw materials for house building and improving our health and wellbeing. Forestry offers a diverse and exciting career, with many opportunities to transfer military skills.”