Scottish Woodlands Manager wins top industry award
Neil White of Scottish Woodlands Ltd has won a prestigious leadership prize at the forestry industry's premier awards ceremony.
He was presented with the Tom A Bruce-Jones Memorial Award for a Future Leader in the Forest Industry at the annual awards dinner hosted by forestry and wood trade body Confor.
Tom R Bruce Jones (left) and Neil White (right)
The judges highlighted the work that Neil, Branch Manager (Forestry) at Scottish Woodlands' Perth office, is doing to develop young talent at the firm - and how is improving his own skills too.
They said he was "already a rounded, confident, highly competent senior manager, but continues to undertake significant training to hone his skills - while still being heavily involved with some of the UK’s largest forests."
Neil's work in leading the mentoring and training on Scottish Woodlands' Ltd Graduate Programme was also noted.
He was presented with the award by Tom R Bruce Jones, Chairman of James Jones & Sons, whose late father gave his name to the award.
Neil White said: "It’s a real honour to win this award, and I am privileged to be part of such a great team - which has an incredible focus on developing the forestry skills of young people."
“One young graduate at Scottish Woodlands told me he found the job thrilling. I find it thrilling too and I say to everyone here, never lose that thrill.”
Neil was named as winner from a shortlist of three, which also included Miriam Jones-Walters of Natural Resource Wales, and Dr Kate Palmer, of Pryor & Rickett Silviculture.
The award is presented to “an individual with outstanding skills, who has the potential to be a leader in the forestry and timber sector - someone showing initiative, passion and making a real difference to the sector."
Ian Robinson, Forestry Director of Scottish Woodlands, Ltd, said: "Neil is a well-deserved recipient of this award. He is already making a huge contribution to Scottish Woodlands Ltd and I am confident he will reach even greater heights with the company and in the wider forestry industry."
Liz Sharkey of Sharkey Forestry (left), Ian Robinson of Scottish Woodlands Ltd (centre) and Katy Davies of Agrecruiting Staff (right)
The Awards were held at Surgeon's Quarter in Edinburgh and also saw the presentation of the Changing Attitudes Award, sponsored by Scottish Woodlands Ltd, to Tom Barnes of Vastern Timber. Read the full story on this award here.
Award Winners alongside Màiri McAllan (centre), Scotland’s Environment and Land Reform Minister, and Eleanor O'Neill of Confor (far right)
Màiri McAllan, Scotland’s Environment and Land Reform Minister, told guests that she was proud to have responsibility for forestry, which she described as “a thriving and successful industry looking to the future, and to succeed in a changing world”.
Forestry was “integral” to delivering an enormous range of economic, environmental and social benefits, she said, adding: “But we must challenge ourselves to be adaptive and better.”
“How do we secure more carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery, improved economic activity and foster a good relationship with communities, while ensuring a sustainable supply of timber for the wood-using industry?”
Murdo Fraser, Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament congratulating Neil White on winning the award.
It says: "The Parliament congratulates Neil White, Branch Manager of the Perth office of Scottish Woodlands Ltd, who has won a prestigious leadership prize; notes that Neil won the Tom A Bruce-Jones Memorial Award for Future Leader in the Forest Industry at the Confor Awards 2023, an annual event hosted by the forestry and wood trade body, Confor; understands that the judges highlighted the work that Neil is doing to develop young talent at the firm, while also improving his own skills, with his work on leading the mentoring and training on the Scottish Woodlands graduate programme also being noted, and wishes Neil and Scottish Woodlands all the best for the future."