Peter O’Rourke - MSc Forestry (Distance Learning)
Now works as: Beat Manager (Thames Beat)
Now works for: Forestry England
For many years I had considered changing my career but never quite found the right subject or profession until I found the Masters Forestry Distance Learning course at Bangor, it was exactly what I had been looking for.
I had spent most of my career working in the City of London but always felt something missing. As a child I could remember visits to the County Clare and County Derry with my parents, being whisked away from the built environment of London to these wonderful wide open green spaces for the summer, it was an experience and connection that I had allowed to drift into memory. Sometimes I think we neglect how influential these experiences are to us.
I had always been a sporting person and spent much of my teenage and young adult years outside, so a career in an office really should not have been the choice I made. For 10 years before I started the MSc, I had started to visit Ireland more and my sister in New Zealand and through this reconnection with nature and the outdoors, I recognised that life is too short to be spent in a career which doesn’t fulfil you.
My career in the City gave me much to be grateful for and allowed me the financial confidence to switch careers. I realised I could live on much less that I was earning and that I would be much happier and working in Forestry would be delivering a social good for the benefit of all. It has been the best decision I have made.
The staff at Bangor have been great, supportive, encouraging and above all knowledgeable, the course allowed me to continue working and to build up a connection with other students and to look for the right opportunity before switching roles. It is a great course and opens up a new world.
I now manage 11 Community Woodlands, 10 on the edge of London and one in Kent. These have all been created in the last 30 years, through a combination of government funding and work with Private Companies. The woodlands are planted on former arable and brownfield sites creating a mosaic of woodlands for a large part of the urban population to enjoy, transforming barren landscapes into amenity green spaces. I am incredibly fortunate to have found the MSc and would urge you to overcome any indecision and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to be part of greener brighter future.