Forestry & Forest Products
Forest workers carry out practical tasks in forests and woodlands to help care for and protect the environment.
Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does a Forest Worker do?
Forest workers carry out practical tasks in forests and woodlands to help care for and protect the environment. Forest workers plant, prune, and fell trees, and also protect trees from pests and disease.
As a forest worker, you will carry out practical jobs to establish, maintain and protect forested areas. You would typically:
- mark and measure trees to be cut down
- prepare the ground for planting by clearing undergrowth
- plant new tree seedlings
- dig out or install drainage systems
- trim and cut back shrubs and other ground cover to promote the healthy growth of trees
- use specialist tools to thin out densely wooded areas
- harvest trees, strip branches and cut felled tree trunks into specific lengths
- protect the forest against insect pests and disease, particularly young trees
- clear footpaths and nature trails, and maintain facilities such as car parks.
If you are working in forests that can be accessed but the public, you may also put up fences, gates, footpath signs and public information notices.
You may be responsible for checking and maintaining basic fire-fighting equipment located near wooded areas, and you may help to tackle forest fires.
Key skills and interests
To become a forest worker, you would need:
- an interest in the environment and working outdoors
- physical fitness and a head for heights
- practical skills
- a sense of responsibility and safety-awareness
- confidence to work on your own
- the ability to work in a team.
Working hours and conditions
As a forest worker you would usually work a standard number of hours, Monday to Friday. Part-time and casual work should also be available.
Forestry work is physically hard and demanding. You would spend most of your time working outdoors in all weather conditions.
Some of the work can be dangerous as you would be using power tools and heavy machinery. You may need to wear protective clothing for certain jobs. You may also need to use a safety harness for climbing trees.
Depending on your location, you may need to travel between different sites, so you may need a valid drivers’ licence.
How to become an Forest Worker?
Entry Level Education
You can work as a forest worker without formal qualifications. You would get some training on the job.
You can also become a forest worker through a traineeship in Forest Growing and Management. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require junior secondary school certificate or equivalent.
Employment of forest workers is projected to decline slightly.
Most employment growth for forest workers is expected to be in state-owned forests. New and improved machinery will mean less workers are required on site.