Jack has a natural enthusiasm and positive outlook on life but had struggled to engage in the structure of the education system and to find a way to develop and learn that would allow him to achieve his dream of becoming a forester.

School wasn’t for me, I found it hard to learn in the classroom and just wanted to be outside doing practical things, so I left but not really knowing what to do next.

That’s where the Fife based Our Bright Future programme was able to help. The programme is delivering a range of Modern Apprenticeships in Rural Skills, Horticulture and Trees and Timber from its Partner sites across Fife. The programme enables young people to gain industry-recognised certificates and access to a formal qualification alongside real practical work experience, all whilst they are earning a wage.

I applied and was accepted onto the programme which I’ve really enjoyed, especially working with the chainsaws. I now have my NTPC chainsaw maintenance, crosscutting and felling (up to 380mm) ticket as well as aerial rescue and use of chainsaw up a tree, which lets me chainsaw on the ground and at height. My favourite bit is when you make a really nice cut and you hear the crack as the tree falls without snagging on anything on the way down! I’ve also surprised myself in that the paper work side of the apprenticeship has been OK, they are definitely the way forward.

In fact Jack has done so well that he was nominated as a finalist in Lantra Scotland’s Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards in the Trees and Timber category narrowly missing out as runner-up. The training and experience he has received has allowed him to enter into the rural sector as skilled professionals in his chosen field.

I’ve just secured my first permanent job as a Lead Operative Special Arborist!

This is critical at a time where we have an aging population and not enough young skilled people entering into the rural sector to take over from them in maintaining and developing our local landscapes.