Rural Skills NC

What is special about this course?

Scotland's foresty industry is growing and is set to expand substantially over the next decade, with the management of forests in Scotland and the processing of Scottish timber a major contributor to the Scottish economy. It means there's no better time to join the industry.

The NC Rural Skills provides an introduction to forestry craft/conservation skills, including fencing, tree identification and planting, and gives you insight into the wide range of careers in the forestry industry.

The Scottish School of Forestry has close links with industry and strong partnerships with agencies including the Forestry Commission, the Cairgorms National Park Authrority and Scottish Natural Heritage, as well as private companies like Euroforest, Tilhill and BSW Timber.

You will learn within the Scottish School of Forestry's woodland environment, and take part in site visits and practical projects, which have previously included a new wildlife pond and dipping platform.

The course is delivered by lecturers who have up-to-date industry experience and qualifications, ensuring our teaching is current and relevant.

Entry requirements

  • You should be a minimum preferred age of 16 by 1st August 2019.
  • Have an interest in working in land-based industries including forestry, rural and estate work.
  • All applicants are invited to interview,
  • Tree identification - a basic introduction to indentifying native species in summer and winter.
  • Rural species identification and habitats - identify common Scottish wildlife and their habitats.
  • Fencing - learn practical skills to maintain and erect fencing, including numeracy and decision making.
  • Tree planting - plant bare rooted and container grown trees and shrubs.
  • Maintenance - assist with the basic repair of structures and landscape features.
  • Drainage - maintenance of existing drainage systems.
  • Rural carpentry - learn how to select tools, equipment and materials and use them safely and appropriately in the construction of rural features including benches and gates.
  • Traditional skills - learn the basics of building a drystone dyke.
  • Small powered machinery - basic knowledge and skills in the use of of electric, 2-stroke and 4-stroke engine powered machinery commonly used in a range of rural work environment.
  • Entreprise activity - develop entrepreneurship skills.
  • Core skills.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time


How long will my course last?

1 Years

Where can I study my course?

    • Scottish School of Forestry

Start date



For the latest information on fees please see our fees policy.


You may be eligible to apply for an Educational Maintenance Allowance or Bursary.

What can I do on completion of my course?

  • Employment in the areas of estate work, forestry, conservation, gardening or grounds maintenance.
  • Progress in your studies to the next level, Certificate in Forestry.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

"If you like being outdoors and doing practical work then this course for you. It's a great introduction to the forestry industry and perfect if you're not sure which career route you want to follow," said Neil Stewart, programme co-ordinator for NC Rural Skills.

Apply for Rural Skills NC

I want to start in 2020/21

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at Inverness College UHI. Inverness College operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.