Plumpton College: Finding my roots

George Stroud
George Stroud

I really wanted to advance into further education, but didn’t know what I wanted to do when I finished school.

I am passionate about the outdoors, and knew that I wanted to have a career where I could be outside.

I saw a careers stand about Plumpton College and was recommended to have a look at the courses they offered. I came on a course information morning to meet students and lecturers who suggested the Rural Pathways course.

This is perfect if you are not sure what land-based area you want to study and covers a range of different subjects taught at Plumpton College. It was a great way for me to improve my communication skills and offered a step for me to prepare for a subject specific qualification. I was part of the Rural Pathways programme for a year and during that time continued to study for my English and Maths GCSEs.

Achieving a distinction on my rural pathways course was a huge accomplishment for me. From studying on the Rural Pathways programme, the division that I found really engaging was the Forestry & Arboriculture courses. I am now enrolled on the level 1 Woodland and Countryside skills course. I love the practical sessions and being outdoors gives me energy and enthusiasm. My favourite aspect of the course so far is the trees and countryside. The history of trees, how nature works and how it evolves. I am really interested in the more mechanical side of the course and the machinery. I am still unsure of what aspect of the industry I would pursue after my time at Plumpton, there are so many different options from a groundsman or tree surgeon to estate work and woodland management.

Over the Christmas period I had the opportunity to sell Christmas trees at a local garden centre. I had to advise customers about the different species and tell them about the aspects of the trees. It really taught me customer care skills and was good to be part of a workplace.

At the moment, I am really enjoying the groundwork and forestry part of the course. I am learning to use chippers, pruning saws and I find the hand-held tools exciting. I am learning how to repair and use these properly. I am very good at and enjoy working in a small team. I enjoy being focused on my work and carrying it out to the best of my ability. I take great pride in what I do. In the classroom we are learning about the health and safety involved in woodland and forestry work and how to carry out risk assessments.

As for my next goals, I am currently taking driving lessons and working hard to complete my level 1 course. I hope to progress onto the level 2 course to develop my skills.


George Stroud

Level 1 Woodland and Countryside Skills (year 1 student)