Cumbria University student Robert Baker is celebrating after winning an award for ‘Best Dissertation’ on his course, BSc (Hons) Forestry Management.
The 23-year-old originally the village of Wootton Wawen in central Warwickshire, is also one of an elite number of students who have been accepted onto Tilhill Forestry’s graduate programme this year.
His dissertation was entitled ‘UK Grown Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) is there a significant relationship between log acoustic velocity and C16 grade recovery?’
In recognition of his win, Baker was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy in the shape of an acorn by Tilhill’s forestry director Tim Liddon, along with £250.
“Winning the award justifies the decision I took three years ago to pursue a career in forestry. Coming into the course with no level three qualifications made me unsure of how I would be able to progress but in the end I couldn’t be happier with my final results,” said Baker.
“Cumbria was able to give me a route into university that I didn’t think was possible. They appreciated my background and gave me an opportunity where many other universities wouldn’t. I would not be where I am now if they hadn’t taken a chance on me and for that I am extremely grateful.
“I hope now to have found a career that I will enjoy for many years to come and will continue to take every opportunity to learn and progress. I would also like to thank James Jones and Sons Ltd who generously donated time and resources to support my dissertation project.”
Baker is now employed as an assistant forest manager at Tilhill Forestry, a wholly owned subsidiary of the BSW Timber Group, which employs over 1,200 people.
“I am settling in very well at Tilhill Forestry,” he said. “It is great to have started my job role and to be out in the district taking in all aspects of the business.”
As part of the company’s work to strengthen links with students, Tilhill Forestry offers awards to top performing forestry students at leading universities which offer degrees in forestry related subjects. The company also runs a popular graduate placement scheme.
Tim Liddon, Tilhill’s forestry director added: “We run an awards programme with a number of universities across the UK. We’re delighted to continue to support Cumbria University and recognise the hard work of students. It’s an excellent university which regularly feeds students into our graduate trainee programme. It is especially rewarding when winning graduates choose to work with Tilhill.”
PHOTO CAPTION – Left to right: Rob Baker and Tim Liddon