Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked John Liston from Forestry Careers Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:

John Liston

Project Manager

Forestry Careers Ireland

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John Liston
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Organisation Profile - Forestry Careers Ireland

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Forestry Careers Ireland 

Forestry Careers Ireland


 
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Forestry Careers

Forestry Careers
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Niall O'Neill

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Luke Heffernan

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Jamie Hawan

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Darragh Little

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Regional Forester
Mark Clery

Mark Clery
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Joe Codd

Joe Codd
Forester
Tony Lenighan

Tony Lenighan
Forester
Linda Coghlan

Linda Coghlan
Forest Technician
Colm Lyons

Colm Lyons
Forest Researcher
Enda Coates

Enda Coates
Forester
Peter Whooley

Peter Whooley
Forest Resource Manager
Stacey Bradley

Stacey Bradley
Timber Purchaser
John Kelly

John Kelly
Project Manager
John Liston

John Liston
Forestry Lecturer
Aine Ni Dhubhain

Aine Ni Dhubhain
Forestry Professional
Ciaran Walsh

Ciaran Walsh
Technical Support Forester
Emily Costello

Emily Costello
Forest Inspector
Robert Whindle

Robert Whindle
Resource Manager
Kevin Power

Kevin Power
Contact Details


 

Grow your career in the forestry sector

Grow your career in the forestry sector


Education and Training... header image
What qualifications are required?


Forestry Education and Training in Ireland

Three organisations currently provide forestry education and skills training courses in Ireland.  These courses are full time, and are aimed at preparing students for a career in the forestry sector. Courses are offered at the National Framework of Qualifications Level 5 and higher.

  1. Teagasc awards the Level 5 Certificate in Forestry and Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Forestry.
  2. Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) awards the Level 7 Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Level 8 Bachelor of Science in Land Management in Forestry.
  3. University College Dublin (UCD) awards the Level 8 Bachelor of Agricultural Science in Forestry.

Students may enter forestry education directly at any level or may progress between levels, once the previously level is successfully completed. This facilitates students to learn at their own pace.

Progression Routes in Forest Education in Ireland

The Teagasc Level 5 Certificate in Forestry is a one year full-time programme providing a sound understanding of the fundamental knowledge and the essential skills required for those involved in forestry operations. On completion of a course the participants will be competent in a range of relevant areas including carrying out safe work practices, communicating effectively and developing career skills. The course combines practical skills in forestry and classroom theory. Students who successfully complete this one year programme are awarded the QQI Level 5 Certificate in Forestry and can progress to the Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Forestry.

The Teagasc Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Forestry is a one year add-on to the Level 5 providing a viable option for those who want to obtain a recognised qualification and specialised skills awards. Students with a Level 6 forestry qualification can progress to higher education at degree level and offers training for people who intend to take up employment in the forestry industry as forest supervisors or self-employed contractors. Students who successfully complete the programme are awarded a QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Forestry and may progress to the Level 7 Bachelor of Science in Forestry. Further information may be found here:

The WIT Level 7 Bachelor of Science in Forestry is a three year full-time course designed by WIT to meet the need in the Irish forest industry for professional foresters. The course uses an integrated schedule of lectures, field and lab practicals, individual and group projects, work experience and applied short-term training courses. The course is professionally accredited by the Society of Irish Foresters. Graduates will typically develop a career in forest management and in other areas of the forest industry and may progress to the Level 8 Bachelor of Science in Land Management in Forestry or the Level 8 Bachelor of Agricultural Science in Forestry. Further information may be found here:

The WIT Level 8 Bachelor of Science in Land Management in Forestry is a one year add-on course providing students with a Level 7 Bachelor of Science in Forestry qualification the opportunity to obtain an Honours degree in forestry. The course aims to increase the students’ forestry knowledge while also improving the students’ business acumen. Graduates may pursue a professional career in forestry or continue into post-graduate education and research. Further information may be found here:

The UCD Level 8 Bachelor of Agricultural Science in Forestry is a full-time four year forestry honours degree programme. This science-based programme is considered to provide students with a broad forestry education rather than on preparing students for specific jobs within the forestry sector. The programme is delivered through lectures, field work sessions and tutorials, and independent study. Students undertake a placement semester and assessments in the final year are largely project-based. Graduates take up careers in the forestry industry and start their own businesses. Graduates may also be eligible to take up post graduate opportunities in forestry related research programmes.   The honours degree and masters programmes are accredited by the Society of Irish Foresters and the UK Institute of Chartered Foresters. Further information may be found here:

What qualifications are required?

Forestry operatives are required to have specialised skills training for some operations such as chainsaw operations and chemical use.  Some skills can be developed with on the job experiential training.   All forestry workers need to be aware of their obligations regarding safety and environmental regulations on site.  A Level 5 Forestry qualification covers all the necessary skills and knowledge to work as a skilled operative.

Many of the people working in forestry at site level are self-employed contractors.  This requires both practical skills and detailed forestry knowledge.  Being self-employed also involves leadership skills and business acumen. A Level 6 or 7 Forestry qualification will prepare you for this role.

Forestry technicians are employed in specific roles in surveying and mapping forests, quantification of forest resources and harvested timber, and assessing forest productivity and health. These roles require technical competence in applying specialist standard procedures and using equipment and technology, such as GPS, GIS and MIS. A Level 6 or 7 forestry qualification will prepare you for this role, but the role will require you to commit to in-service training in new practices and procedures.

Foresters are professionals in self-employment or working for a forestry company or organisation. Foresters will perform a broad range of technical, professional and managerial roles involved in the sustainable management of forests. The successful completion of Level 7 or Level 8 forestry programme and a comprehensive forest management plan are the minimum entry qualifications to forester role. Foresters working in the Irish forest sector typically are also engaged in a continuous professional development programme operated by their professional representative body, the Society of Irish Foresters.

 

What are the typical routes into this sector?


The full time forestry courses offered at Level 5, 6, 7 & 8 all have practical work experience included as mandatory modules.  This enables students to develop their skills and make contacts within the industry before graduating.  Students often secure employment with their placement host companies and mentors on completion of their college course. 

Prospective employers regularly contact forestry programme coordinators about job opportunities and information about positions is communicated to registered students and graduates.  

Networking at college careers events, industry open days and demonstrations is a great way of contacting potential employers in the industry.   Becoming a member of the Society of Irish Foresters or other professional groups will ensure that you get on-going communication regarding career opportunities.

Coillte offer a two year graduate development programme for recently qualified forestry graduates and advertise through their website.

 


Advice... header image
What advice do you have for school leavers?


You have options available in Ireland to study forestry at all levels, for one to four years. Start by reading the information provided on the courses in Teagasc, UCD and WIT. Attend all the college open days in order to meet staff and current students and view the facilities provided by each college. Contact the programme leaders directly with any particular questions regarding their course. Talk with people in your community currently working in forestry, get their views on the forestry sector and career paths, and if possible gain some practical experience working in forestry. Ensure that you understand the entry requirements of the programme you are applying for and most importantly, read the information on the modules you will study in your programme.

 

What advice do you have for graduates?


As a forestry graduate, you should develop and maintain your professional network through your peers, educators and previous employers. Join the Society of Irish Foresters, the professional body for Irish foresters and other professional bodies and forestry interest groups. Participate in conferences, seminars and field days organised by these groups. Be willing gain further paid or unpaid practical experience. Be prepared to travel within Ireland and internationally for employment opportunities and experience.

 

What advice do you have for career changers?


Changing career is a serious decision, so it is vital to be well-informed. Attend public forestry events, research the forestry sector and companies, and discuss your interest with people currently working in the forestry sector. Make contact with programme leaders to express your interest and discuss any queries or concerns you have with them. Forestry programmes tend to have a mix of school leavers and mature students and forestry employers tend to place a high value on mature graduates blend of qualification and experience.

 

What advice do you have for non-Irish nationals?


The Irish forest industry is small but expanding. EU nationals are entitled to the same study and employment rights as Irish nationals. Non-EU nationals should discuss study options and requirements with the individual colleges. Similarly, when seeking employment it is important to ensure work visa conditions are met and employers should be able to aid and advise on that.

 

What advice do you have for those wishing to go back to work?


Attend college open days and talk to forestry programme coordinators about your educational options.  This will enable you to make an informed decision about what suits you and your personal circumstances returning to the workplace.  If you are unsure about committing to a full time course become a member of a forestry group or association and attend open days and talks where you will get a broader idea of what the forestry industry is about.

 


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Global Opportunities... header image
Are there overseas opportunities available?

Very few forestry graduates have found work overseas, mainly due to the fact that most of them want to work in Irish forestry. However, occasionally graduates find positions overseas, for instance in the UK and the USA, and also in developing countries while working for NGOs and aid organisations. A few graduates also pursue a career in research abroad. For graduates interested in working overseas, there are many opportunities available to them, although they may need to obtain a professional qualification specific to the country of interest.

 

Are there opportunities in this sector for non-Irish nationals?

Traditionally, almost all position for forestry graduates in Ireland were filled by Irish graduates from Irish institutions. However, in recent years more non-nationals have been taken on by companies and state organisations, partly due to a lack of suitable Irish graduates. One area where non-nationals have for a longer time made up a significant proportion of employees is research, but even here this proportion has increased in recent years due to a lack of interest by Irish graduates in pursuing Masters and PhD degrees and by the availability of many highly qualified, non-national candidates from countries where due to then economic recession no opportunities existed.

 


About this Sector... header image
Please give an overview of your sector?


In 2017, 3.355 million cubic metres of roundwood was harvested in the Republic of Ireland. 2.733 million cubic metres of this was supplied by Coillte, with the balance (0.622 million cubic metres) being provided by the private forest estate.

In recent years 6,000 to 6,500 of private land has been afforested and approximately 80km of forest road have been built.

Contribution to climate change by Irish forests absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is approaching 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, or about 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions. In terms of complying with Kyoto targets, the contribution from afforestation post-1990 is c. 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the 5 year period to the end of 2012 saving the taxpayer €220 million over this period.

 

What is the size and scope of the sector?


Almost 11% of Ireland is under forest, supporting a vibrant and export-oriented forest products sector. The forest industry comprising, growing, harvesting and processing of forest products makes a significant and growing contribution to the Irish economy. Total output in 2012 was c. €2.3 bn. Apart from climate change benefits, forests provide the largest outdoor area for recreational use. This has been valued at €97 million, which in turn generates €268 million in economic activities for communities in rural areas. Annual visitor numbers to Irish forests are in excess of 18 million.

 

What are the current issues affecting this sector?


Developing forestry and related industry in a manner that is in keeping with sustainable forest management and the protection of the environment.

 

What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years


The roundwood (timber in trees) to come to market is forecast to increase from the 4 million cubic metres in 2016 to close to 8 million by 2035. This doubling of output is set to come, in the main, from privately-owned, grant-aided forests in the Republic of Ireland.

Also, there is significant potential for wood fuel to displace fossil fuel, particularly in the generation of heat in industrial, commercial, domestic and institutional markets. After wind energy, wood fuel is the largest contributor to renewable energy generation in Ireland.

 

Do you have any statistics relevant to the sector?


Almost 11% of Ireland is under forest, supporting a vibrant and export-oriented forest products sector. The forest industry comprising, growing, harvesting and processing of forest products makes a significant and growing contribution to the Irish economy. Total output in 2012 was c. €2.3 bn. Apart from climate change benefits, forests provide the largest outdoor area for recreational use. This has been valued at €97 million, which in turn generates €268 million in economic activities for communities in rural areas. Annual visitor numbers to Irish forests are in excess of 18 million.

 

 

Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?


The forestry sector employ across a wide range of talents from ecologists, archaeologists, accountants, engineers and foresters. Opportunities exist across the sector for both graduates and experienced staff.

 


About Us... header image

Participants in Forestry Careers Ireland

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine - Forestry Divisions


DAFMThe Forestry Divisions of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) are responsible for and involved in and a wide range of activity in support of the development of forestry and the forest sector within Ireland. DAFM’s aim is to support the development of the sector in a manner and to a scale that maximises its contribution to national socio-economic well-being on a sustainable basis that is compatible with the protection of the environment. Among DAFM’s responsibilities are its policy and legislative role; the provision and support for land owners of financial support for afforestation and forest road construction; forest health & protection; the National Forest Inventory; forest sector development activity; international forest policy and provision of support for forest research. Approximately 35 professional foresters are employed in DAFM across these areas.

Website: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/
Contact Email: Tom McDonald

 

Waterford Institute of Technology.

WITWaterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is a university-level institution in the South-East of Ireland with over 10,000 students and 1,000 staff. WIT offers tuition and research programmes in various areas from Higher Certificate to Degree to PhD.

The Bachelor of Science in Forestry is a three year full-time degree programme and the  is a one year top-up honours degree designed by WIT to meet the need in the rapidly developing Irish forest industry for practically skilled, technically proficient, professional foresters. The course uses an integrated schedule of lectures, field and laboratory practical classes, individual and group projects, work experience and applied short-term training courses. This programme of study will equip graduates with the essential competencies required to practice all facets of Sustainable Forest Management.

 

UCD Forestry


UCDThe UCD Forestry programme consists of four pillars: education, research, innovation and extension. UCD Forestry staff are active in all of these, at both a national and international level. UCD Forestry delivers the only QQI Level 8 Forestry degree programme in Ireland and this has a long and prestigious heritage dating back to 1927.

UCD is a research-intensive university and the UCD Forestry programme is no exception. Staff are actively engaged in research work, at a national and international level, which supports the large number of Research Masters and PhD students and Post-Doc researchers in UCD Forestry. Many of the outcomes of the research carried out at UCD Forestry result in innovative products and services, especially in relation to ICT and decision support systems.

Staff are also involved in the translation of their expertise and research findings for use by forestry practitioners, politicians and the general public. The staff play an important role by informing and educating decision makers, forest owners and managers, as well as the general public, based on scientific research findings.

Contact information:

Prof. Maarten Nieuwenhuis
UCD Forestry
Agriculture and Food Science Centre
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4
Tel: 01 716 7004
Email: maarten.nieuwenhuis@ucd.ie
Web: http://www.ucd.ie/agfood/ucdforestry/

Coillte

Coillte are privileged to be custodians of 7% of Ireland’s land. Our forests and land now extend to over 440,000 hectares. Over the last 30 years, we have cared for and developed our estate and businesses while being firmly focused on maximising the financial and social potential of these natural resources in a sustainable way. We have three high potential businesses: Forestry, Land Solutions and Medite Smartply. Our Medite Smartply business is Ireland’s leading producer of innovative, environmentally friendly wood panel products and exports to 32 countries worldwide.

Forestry in Ireland has a history which stretches back almost 100 years but its development has accelerated since Coillte was established in 1989, when the company left the Civil Service and became a commercial semi state. We are enabling Government Policy to be implemented in key areas such as renewables, infrastructure, industrial development and tourism, all of which are leading to significant job creation and through our wind farms we are on track to deliver electricity to over 300,000 homes by 2019.

We want future generations to continue to enjoy our landscape and resources that is why we are committed to managing all our activities in a sustainable way and we play a critical role in mitigating the impacts of greenhouse gases and climate change

Veon

Veon is a forestry consultancy company specialising in all commercial forestry for all types of woodland owners.

Veon has been in business for over 25 years offering forest management services such as planting, road building, and harvesting to woodland estate owners, investors and farmers. We manage approximately 14,000 ha of forests throughout Ireland and Scotland. We have offices in Kerry, Wexford, Galway, Leitrim and Dublin. Our ethos is to manage our client’s forest properties to the highest standards adhering to best forestry practice. Our goal is to add value to our client’s investments by carrying out operations to the best of our ability with the best materials and using only competent contractors.