Darren Roe

A Fife company has been doing its bit to boost numbers in the forestry sector through its latest round of recruitment. RSS Countryside Management, a not-for-profit contracting company, recently strengthened their team by adding former soldier Darren Roe to their workforce. Having been referred by HighGround, a charity working to get ex-service personnel into the land-based sector, Darren approached RSS Countryside Management for some work experience. Supported by Lantra and Poppy Scotland, he took part in two work placements getting experience of working in a live contracting situation. Darren made such a positive impact in that time that he has been offered a full-time position with RSS Countryside Management.

Over the last few years, there has been an increasing focus on the forestry sector in the UK. In the main, this is down to a growing awareness in Government and the general public of the contribution trees make to mitigating climate change and the improvement trees bring to biodiversity and general wellbeing. It is estimated over the next few years that a minimum of 10,000 new entrants to the sector are required to meet current targets.

Stewart Christie, Operations Director for RSS Countryside Management, said “As a company we are committed to looking for new ways to get people interested in careers in the land-based sector. When we were approached by Lantra and HighGround, we were keen to give Darren a chance to work alongside experienced members of staff and get a feel for what is involved. Darren brings with him a wealth of life experience and skills he gained during his time in the armed forces, and we were really impressed with his attitude and what he can bring to the team. We have been fortunate to receive support towards Darren’s wages through Fife Council’s Fife Job Contract and through Poppy Scotland and Kingdom Housing Association for help with the costs of PPE and additional training. It felt as if the planets aligned to allow us to offer this opportunity, but I’d really encourage other employers to think about looking for new ways to get people into the sector who wouldn’t necessarily be the traditional target audience.”

Darren said” I really appreciate the support I’ve had that’s given me the opportunity to change career, work outside and do something completely new. I feel I can bring a lot to the team and look forward to consolidating the skills I’ve learned over the coming months.”

Anna Baker Cresswell Founder and Executive Director of HighGround said “This is the most brilliant example of teamwork and I couldn’t be prouder of Darren. We worked closely with All Call Signs who referred Darren to a Virtual Rural Week and the rest as they say, is history!”

Dr Liz Barron Majerik MBE MICFor, Lantra’s Director commented: “Having helped to put Darren in touch with Rural Skills Scotland, we’re delighted to see how well he’s now doing.
Although he may be new to the forestry industry, it’s clear that the transferrable skills he gained in the Forces have been a great help to him in adapting to an entirely new line of work.

Part of Lantra’s remit in Scotland is to support the rural economy by increasing the number and diversity of employees in the land-based and aquaculture sector, and Darren is a great example of that, having already had a career in the services.
Darren’s story just goes to show that there are lots of rewarding opportunities out there in our sector, no matter your background”.