Apply for a Forestry Apprenticeship

Find out about the Forestry Commission’s Professional Forester Apprenticeship programme that offers an exciting career pathway into the forestry sector.

Applies to England

About the Professional Forester Apprenticeship programme

Applications for Forester Apprenticeships are now closed.

The Forestry Commission, in partnership with the National School of Forestry at the University of Cumbria and the Institute of Chartered Foresters, is offering a first of its kind apprenticeship programme designed to kickstart a career in forestry.

The 3-year, paid development opportunity launched in 2022 and marked the first time that a degree-level forestry apprenticeship had been offered in the UK.

The Forestry Commission was looking for driven individuals who are eager to support ambitious tree planting plans and ensure our precious woods and forests continue to flourish for generations to come.

What does the programme involve?

Students will benefit from:

  • academic studies in forestry management at the National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria
  • practical experience in area teams across England
  • potential sector placements to further build skills and experience, enhancing future employment prospects

Upon completion of the programme, successful graduates will earn a Professional Forester Apprenticeship (equivalent to Level 6), BSc (Hons) Professional Forester and will be able to apply for Chartered Forester status with the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

Matthew Gaskell, current apprentice, age 19 said:

My advice for anyone thinking about applying from school or college is to not worry about experience, it’s more important to focus on enthusiasm. The apprenticeship’s about bringing in new people into forestry, with new ideas. It’s the perfect gateway to a future career in forestry – it’s so much better to have already worked in the sector for three years, rather than leaving Uni and starting from scratch again. There are doors already open.

Gareth Biggins, current apprentice, age 41 said:

I was asked recently what an average day looked like for an apprentice. While we have 8-week cycles of university study and assessment, our daily activities vary. Working alongside Woodland Officers, we consolidate the skills and knowledge gained at university by processing Felling Licences, advising woodland owners and surveying Alleged Illegal Felling sites. Many of the highlights of the last 9 months have been during visits to woodlands and the opportunity to discuss these with the owners, managers, foresters, and rangers who nurture them.

Find out if you are eligible

Applications for Forester Apprenticeships are now closed.

The Professional Forester Apprenticeship programme was open to school leavers, graduates or anyone looking for a change in career direction.

A Level 6 Apprenticeship is a degree level qualification. There is a strong academic element embedded into the programme.

Minimum entry requirements are:

  • mathematics: GCSE pass at grade C or 4 and above
  • English: GCSE pass at grade C or 4 and above
  • minimum of 96 UCAS points, these can be made up in several ways

To check your qualifications, use the UCAS Tariff Calculator.

Successful applicants will need to live and work within the geographical area during their employment. Relocation expenses will not be provided.

Employers: are you interested in hosting an apprentice?

We are looking to work with employers who are able to take on apprentices who will join the Forestry Commission apprentices cohort for the formal part of their training. We may be able to help with the process and are happy to talk through what’s involved.

Contact the Forestry Commission

For more information or questions about the Professional Forester Apprenticeship programme, please email

Published 7 March 2022
Last updated 20 February 2024 + show all updates
  1. Applications for Forester Apprenticeships have closed.

  2. Added direct links to the individual areas on Civil Service jobs.

  3. Updated to reflect that the Professional Forester Apprenticeship programme is now open for applications for the 2024 programme.

  4. Updated to reflect that the Professional Forester 2024 Apprenticeship programme will be opening for applications soon.

  5. Update to minimum entry requirements to clarify the need for English GCSE pass at grade C or 4 and above.

  6. Update to the name of the programme.

  7. Updated to mark applications as closed.

  8. The application window for our 2023 Development Woodland Officer programme is now open.

  9. Recruitment for 2022 is now closed, sign up to our eAlert for information on 2023 recruitment.

  10. Addition of how to apply information.

  11. First published.