Young people taking part in an employability course called Get into Woodlands were recently surprised to meet our founder and President, HRH The Prince of Wales.

The course, which is run in partnership with Ludlow College and The Duchy of Cornwall, helps young people gain skills, qualifications and experience in forestry. The Duchy have hosted six Get into Woodlands programmes, providing the venue, Aconbury Woods, and staff.

During the course, which is led by the Duchy’s Head Forester, Geraint Richards, the young people complete a combination of classroom and practical activities including hazel coppicing, green woodworking, tree planting and harvesting.

Oliver Pagett, 25, from Worcester, has been unemployed for over 12 months. He took part in the Get into Woodlands programme as he'd like to secure a forestry apprenticeship. He says,

The programme has been great, I’ve really learnt a lot about the industry. It was a pleasure to meet The Prince of Wales as without him this opportunity wouldn’t be available to me.

Paul Beesley, Interim Director for The Prince’s Trust in Central England, said,

This charity would not exist without the determination of HRH The Prince of Wales to get the initial projects off the ground, over 40 years ago. Today he remains involved in guiding our strategy, motivating our partners and supporters and, above all, inspiring our young people.

Head Forester at the Duchy Estate, Geraint Richards was impressed by the enthusiam shown by the young people and the forestry skills they've learnt. He says,

We are hopeful that many of the young people will find fulfilling careers in the rural sector. The programme was very much His Royal Highness’ idea and it was wonderful to witness, in Aconbury Wood, his enthusiasm for it and his engagement with the young people.

Find out more about Get into programmes near you.