Forestry: Cameron McLean
Cameron McLean completed the Certificate in Forestry course at Barony Campus, and then acquired more experience working for a forestry contractor. A chance subsequently came up to apply for an intensive 8 week harvester course run by SRUC for the UK Forest Products Association (UKFPA). Cameron had spent a little time on a forwarder but had never driven a harvester.
Cameron said: “From when I left school I have always been interested in forestry. From a young age I helped out at my grandparents’ garden, part of their garden used to be a Christmas tree plantation and I just used an axe and a handsaw to cut down the trees . When the Forest Machine Operator course came up I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. I learned a lot on the course, both around maintaining the machines and of course driving them.”
After the 8 week course Cameron decided to go back to Barony to do the Advanced Certificate to gain more experience. Cameron now works for the Forestry Commission as a Machine Operator.
“The Forestry Commission had not long started a new thinnings programme when I joined. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to learn and gain experience alongside the other operators and our managers learning how to plan and work sites. The machines are large enough to give us the advantage of being able to cut sensitive clearfell areas as well, and the mixture of sites has been challenging yet rewarding.
“In the second year of college I actually had the opportunity to service a Ponsse Fox, which is the same model of harvester owned by my district of the Forestry Commission. This helped me familiarise myself more easily with the machines I am operating now.”