Ben Norwood – MSc Forestry (Distance Learning)
Now works as: Trees and Woodlands Advisor, SW England
Now works for: National Trust
Whilst in the woods working as a Ranger for the National Trust, I developed a keen interest in all things trees. Looking to develop my knowledge and career further, I gave very serious consideration to the notion of doing a full-time postgraduate forestry degree course. The problem was I loved my job and did not want to leave it to pursue full-time study.
This was where the MSc Forestry distance learning programme at Bangor really came into its own. It gave me the opportunity to study whilst still working and actively apply my learning to my work and, in turn, apply my practical experience to my studies. It was flexible enough that I could make it work for me around other obligations. The support from staff and other students was very good and the course helped me develop further skills which I have been able to use and build upon.
Success in my studies gave me confidence and a sound knowledge base to support my practical management skills. This helped me as I explored other aspects of forestry and opened up new career opportunities in the broad profession of trees and woodland management.
Today I work as a Trees and Woodlands advisor for the National Trust in the South West of England. I assist property teams in managing the diverse range of woodlands across the SW for a multitude of purposes. I also get to be involved with my particular passion: working with Ancient and Veteran trees. It is a steep learning curve filled with lots of challenges and surprises, but I always have to pinch myself that I get paid to do such a varied and fulfilling job.
A further benefit of the distance learning course is the duration – it takes three years of commitment, albeit on a part-time basis. This method of study, I believe, gave me an approach to working with woods and trees that has been very helpful and relevant: that to achieve good results takes time, commitment and perseverance.