The UK government has announced an additional £1 million in funding for training courses in forestry and arboriculture across England.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Forestry Commission announced the funding yesterday (Thursday, September 21) and said it was due to “exceptional demand”.

The funding joins the £675 million from the UK government’s Nature for Climate Fund and is primarily aimed at those considering changing their careers to one in forestry or arboriculture (tree cultivation), as well as those already working in the sector.

Defra and the Forestry Commission said the funding will create more green jobs and boost the workforce of 30,000 even further.

The new funding will cover training courses in a range of areas, including:

  • Chainsaw operation;
  • Operating heavy machinery;
  • Planning and planting new woodland;
  • Deer management;
  • Marketing and selling timber;
  • Aerial tree pruning; and
  • Branch removal.

The Forestry and Arboriculture Fund

Formerly known as the Forestry Training Fund, the Forestry and Arboriculture Fund has received “exceptionally high uptake” since its launch in February this year, with over 150 short course training providers having registered to offer courses and 1,100 training places already funded for the next two years, Defra said.

The fund has now been extended to cover arboriculture courses, with £250,000 ringfenced specifically for courses which cover the care, management and safety of amenity trees, through skills such as aerial tree pruning, branch removal, and assisted felling. 

Forestry Minister, Trudy Harrison said: “As tree-planting and woodlands across the country increase, so must our forestry workforce. 

“We are committed to growing the sector and increasing green jobs which will be made possible through this significant funding of Forestry and Arboriculture courses, as we continue to ensure at least 16.5% of the country is covered in trees by 2050.”

Forestry Commission chief executive, Richard Stanford said: “England’s forestry sector plays an essential part in creating resilient forests and woodlands which improve our natural environment, helping meet net zero carbon emissions, provide a sustainable source of home-grown timber and boost people’s health and wellbeing.

“The additional funding provided through the Forestry and Arboriculture Training Fund, will ensure that more people across the country, from all backgrounds, are able to build and diversify their skills in forestry.

“I encourage anyone looking to join the sector or upskill to apply today.”