New forestry skills and development programme unveiled

A new Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme for foresters has been unveiled by the Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle.

The programme was launched by Minister Doyle at the Society of Irish Foresters (SIF) AGM in the Wicklow Mountains National Park HQ Office at Trooperstown, Laragh, Co. Wicklow.

There are numerous advantages for professional foresters interested in engaging in such a CPD programme, Minister Doyle said.

These include:
  • The maintenance of professional competence; enhancement of existing knowledge and skills as well as the opportunity to develop new ones.
  • The creation of a structure of accreditation for training/information events organised by third parties.
  • The identification of emerging issues, in terms of knowledge and skills that need to be addressed.

The establishment of this CPD structure is set to upgrade the SIF’s current system; it is also included in the Knowledge Transfer and Information Action measure of the Forestry Programme (2014–2020).

“From my Department’s perspective, one of the most important contributions of the society has been its Continuous Professional Development programme,” Minister Doyle said.

There is a clear justification for the initiative, given the proposed investment of approximately €482m of exchequer funds in new forestry developments over the period of the programme, he added.

This investment includes the planting of 44,000ha of new forests and the building of almost 700km of forest roads.

Schemes and measures for thinning, conservation of native woodlands, agro-forestry and the growing of timber for energy are also expected to be put in place.

“In order to ensure that such expenditure represents good value for money and that State funds are spent in the most appropriate and efficient manner, it is vital that work receiving grant aid is undertaken to the highest standard possible,” Minister Doyle said.