Record graduate intake as turnover and profits take root at Scottish Woodlands

Forestry business Scottish Woodlands has enjoyed another year of rising turnover and profit, alongside record graduate recruitment and a new office opening.

The company, which is 80 per cent-owned by its employees, now has more than 230 staff, up from 208 a year ago. It has recruited ten more people to its graduate recruitment programme in 2022 as it tackles skills challenges by “growing its own”.

Company accounts to the end of September 2021 show turnover rising to £125.14 million, from £108.42m a year earlier, primarily due to an increase in both the price and volume of timber supplied in the year. Pre-tax profits were up from £4.02m to £4.76m.

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Managing director Ralland Browne said: “The business is in strong shape, which reflects the strength of the forestry and timber sector in Scotland generally. We support the whole process of planting and management of forests and woodlands, and harvesting timber, so our success and that of the industry go hand in hand.”

He said the opening of an office in Banchory in Aberdeenshire this year was already stimulating further growth.

“There is a real interest in the North-east - and all over Scotland - to plant trees and manage forests well for the environmental and economic benefits they deliver,” Browne said.

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“While the business continues to grow, we are never complacent,” he added. “Our focus remains on providing excellent service to our clients and great opportunities for our people to thrive in this vibrant industry.”

The ten new recruits to the firm’s graduate development programme this year take the total number of recruits to 43 since the programme was launched five years ago.

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Scottish Woodlands managing director Ralland Browne is pictured (left) at the company's Knowe & Keltie planting site in Perthshire, speaking to Scotland's environment minister Màiri McAllan, second right, with Stuart Goodall, chief executive of forestry and wood trade body Confor (right) and SWL Forest manager Jillian Kennedy (second left). Picture: Sandy Young Photography

Scottish Woodlands has 20 offices, mainly spread across Scotland, but also in northern England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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The strategic report accompanying the latest accounts noted: “The underlying demand for wood and wood products is robust and is expected to remain so. These products are increasingly being recognised as a major part of the global solution to climate change through the increasing use of wood in construction and in the drive to meet net zero carbon emission targets.”

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