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Where can a BSc Forestry degree from Bangor University take you?

Bangor University has been teaching forestry for 115 years and over this period has built up extensive links across academia and industry, both nationally and globally.  The degree programme introduces students to the latest developments in research as well as to the practicalities of conserving, sustaining and managing forests in the 21st century.  Links with leading employers provide students with a variety of opportunities during their degree, including visits from high-profile guest lecturers, forest visits, study tours, professional conferences and sandwich placements.  Graduate training positions are also available for those students who perform well during their studies and this article tells the story of one recent success.

Alex studied BSc Forestry from 2015-2019, which included sandwich placements with a leading forest nursery and the National Trust.  During his final year, his course director James Walmsley organised a careers visit from Scottish Woodlands to the university.  This enabled students to meet with current Scottish Woodlands staff, including recent Bangor University alumnus (Douglas Scott, BSc Forestry 2017) who was recruited to their graduate programme in 2017.  Scottish Woodlands staff also kindly hosted a professional site visit to the Nannau estate in mid-Wales, where they manage the woodlands in a way that is sympathetic to this very special historic landscape.  Speaking about his first impressions of Scottish Woodlands, Alex said: “I had already heard much about Scottish Woodlands, it was hard not to! When a large company are industry leaders in quality forestry management and health and safety it makes you pay attention. My first impressions of Scottish Woodlands were that of professionalism; the managers that came to talk to us were very personable and extremely knowledgeable and they lived up to expectations. I knew that after listening and talking to Doug and Charles that I would be able to take on my next big challenge, which was to become a qualified forest manager! I was also left with the impression that Scottish Woodlands is a company that is small enough to care yet large enough to make a difference.” 

Since starting his new role with Scottish Woodlands, Alex has been involved with new woodland creation schemes, planning restocking and maintenance of both small farm and large commercial sites, and grant applications.  Reflecting on his first few months, Alex said “I have already learnt so much in such a short amount of time, it has flown by. I have already attended multiple training events, which ensures I am developing at a fast yet sustainable pace. Yet, I wouldn’t have been able to secure such a fantastic job without constant care and attention from the forestry staff at Bangor University. Modules such as the Forest Management Plan and The Forestry Profession have been extremely useful, I would recommend them to anyone looking to get some insight into key roles of a forest manager. The most transferable skills gained for university have been my ability to talk and interact with members of the forestry industry. This has been incredibly useful when talking to contractors, being able to explain with sound silvicultural knowledge to what specification a job needs to be completed to or to a fellow forester when planning the coming winter planting season. These skills that my BSc Forestry degree gave me have been the most useful for transitioning into the forestry profession.”

Alex has been working under the close supervision of Andy Maclachlan of Scottish Woodlands.  “Alex arrived to our company with limited knowledge of the geographical area he now works in and little experience of the specific role, however has used the knowledge gained from his degree and placement along with a transferable skillset to learn quickly and adapt his mostly theoretical knowledge into practical implementation. Our graduate programme will ensure that Alex will be supported during his early years, covering all required formal training, as well as opportunities to learn from experienced managers and other graduates on the same programme as him. The role of Forest manager provides a unique blend of business and environment interaction and Scottish Woodlands Ltd prides itself in having a diverse work programme providing an interesting and varied job both indoors and outdoors. The company looks to utilise the wealth of experience that it’s managers have across every aspect of the forest industry. Alex will be encouraged to use the support available to develop his own career and reach his potential.









Alex Donaldson BSc Forestry Bangor University 2019, now working with Scottish Woodlands

For more information about the Forestry degree programmes at Bangor University, please follow this link or contact the School of Natural Sciences email: telephone: +44 1248 382281.

Information about Scottish Woodlands can be found via or contact Jude Alexander email: telephone: 0131 451 2608.

Publication date: 6 November 2019