Two outstanding forestry and arboriculture students have received Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Silky Fox Handsaw Awards for their progress in hands-on skills in tree and woodland care.

The prestigious awards, which are presented annually, reward students at RHS member colleges who have shown significant improvement in their practical ability. We have a long established partnership with the RFS and always put forward students for the awards. Previous recipients have gone on to achieve considerable success in the industry.

The RFS also supports our next generation arborists with onsite lectures and practical observations which share valuable insights into careers in commercial forestry.

Our ‘star’ students for the 2020 academic year, whose award presentations were delayed due to Covid-19, are Aaron Stanway, a current second year student on our Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture, and Alexander Pointon, who has now progressed onto a BSc (Hons) in Forestry at Bangor University. Both aim to become tree surveyors and have been delighted to receive a Silky Gomtaro professional pruning saw and certificate.

Aaron said: “I’m really enjoying my college course and was pleased to be put forward for this award. As well as learning in the classroom we have great practical sessions like tree climbing and chainsaw use. They’re fun and all relate to the world of work.”

Alex said: “I’m passionate about tree management and during my time at college I realised that I could take this further than I thought possible. My lecturers encouraged me to put all my efforts into my course, develop my knowledge and set my goals high. Now I’m challenging myself at university and looking forward to getting a good job. This award will be a great addition to my CV.”

Course manager Alan Mottram emphasised: “Both students have been keen to develop their forestry and personal skills from early in their course and very much deserve this recognition. They are continuing to progress and have promising careers ahead.

“As a college we very much value the professional links we have with the RFS, as this partnership enables us to demonstrate true industry requirements to our students. We also thank Silky Fox Handsaws for making these awards possible.”

Adam Pickles, RFS Future Foresters Officer, added: “In this most extraordinary of years, it has been truly heartening to hear from colleges about students whose practical skills have progressed in leaps and bounds. We hope these awards, which recognise their individual achievements, will encourage them as they follow careers as foresters and arborists.”