Woodland Trainees

To fulfil the government’s tree planting targets will require a significant increase in recruitment to the forestry sector. Yet skills shortages in the sector are at critical levels and little is being done to attract young people into the industry.  

Woodland Trainees at YDMT

In 2021 we recruited our first YDMT Woodland Trainees, to help address the shortage of young people coming into the forestry sector. And we continue to offer trainee opportunities to help deliver our new woodland creation schemes and programme of woodland activities.

Sam and Zoe YDMT Woodland Trainees

Our woodland trainees play a key role in helping to transform native broadleaf cover in the Yorkshire Dales as part of our work. Along the way they learn skills such as fencing, walling, invasive species control, willow spiling and peatland restoration as well as gaining experience in mapping and surveying work and the design, creation, and management of woodlands. This year a key element of the woodland traineeship is to engage with targeted groups from local communities with the aim of developing a network of community tree nurseries. 

Trainees also have the opportunity to complete the ABC Level 2 Certificate in Forestry, with dedicated time each week to progress and help and advice always on hand from the YDMT woodland team.

Our trainees have the chance to work alongside our fundraising, communications and administration teams, giving them opportunities to learn new skills and gain experience of working in a dynamic environmental charity, meaning they are well-placed to start an exciting career in the environmental sector at the end of their traineeship.

Read on to find out how YDMT Woodland Trainees Zoe and Sam secured new jobs in the environmental sector after completing their woodland training with YDMT.  

Sam Marshall 

Sam, 23, joined us as a Woodland Trainee in 2021. 

“I was looking for a practical conservation traineeship to enhance my career prospects. YDMT offered a great opportunity to gain the practical skills I needed to follow a career in wildlife conservation.

“I am now working as Woodland Officer for the Wyre Rivers Trust. It combines woodland planting in riparian habitat with health walks, volunteer days and community activities including water sampling and invertebrate surveying and leaky dam building.

“I am very grateful for the skills I have learnt, and my new job is exactly what I hoped to get from my experience as a woodland trainee.”

Sam was placed with local contractor Moor and Valley as part of his traineeship. Here he got the chance to learn practical land-based skills as well as finding out how contractors and consultants work with larger organisations. 

He gained surveying and tree identification skills, as well as experience of using GIS and writing grant proposals.

“I will look back fondly on the time I spent at Moor and Valley. There were stressful periods, but having the opportunity to work things out alone and cope with those situations has made me a stronger applicant for any job. I loved the amount of time spent outdoors and working in beautiful areas.”

Sam woodland trainee at YDMT in 2021


Zoe YDMT Woodland Trainee 2021

Zoe Bullivant 

Like Sam, Zoe completed her YDMT traineeship with Moor and Valley and gained a wealth of experience in all areas of countryside management. She gained a deeper understanding of peatland and its conservation, undertaking moorland and peatland surveys, habitat and bird surveys and balsam and bracken control.

“Before becoming a YDMT Woodland Trainee, I was struggling to find paid environmental employment. Now I am a Stakeholder Dialogue Coordinator for an award-winning consultancy in the environmental sector.

Fo Zoe taking part in community engagement with YDMT was a highlight of her traineeship. She helped the team liaise with local people to restore and support its landscapes as well ensuring young people can have a real influence on the environment.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Woodland Trainee with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. Working with Moor and Valley and having the opportunity to work outdoors every day, learn from such an enthusiastic and dedicated team, and experience such a wide range of roles was invaluable. Whilst it cannot be denied that at times it was physically and mentally exhausting, with the constant support from Carol and YDMT, I can honestly say that I had a blast and everything that I have learnt has helped me to find out more about myself. Thank you for everything!”


Learn more about our woodland work 

Sapling and mature tree Yorkshire Dales

Restoring our native woodlands

25 years ago YDMT joined forces with other organisations to expand tree cover across the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding areas. Since then, we’ve supported the planting of over 1.5 million native broadleaf trees.  

Removing tree tubes Yorkshire Dales

Plastic Free Woodlands

Hundreds of thousands of plastic tree guards are used every year to protect new trees as they grow, but the plastic they leave behind is polluting our soils and waterways. YDMT is driving an industry-led response to the problem, paving a way forward for plastic free woodlands.  

Young person whittling

Discover your woods

Want some inspiration for things to do in the woods? Check out our woodland activities, talks and resources put together by our YDMT woodland experts.