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Students branch out on Coillte forestry experience

Coillte has partnered with a South Galway school for the second year running through the Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) Business Action on Education Initiative.

Ireland’s semi-state forestry company linked up with 17 second year students from Mercy College, Woodford – one of four schools that Coillte has partnered with across the country.

Over a series of visits throughout the school year, students were introduced to the working world of Coillte and the diverse roles within the forestry sector.

A highlight of the programme was a tour of Murray Sawmills in Ballygar. This was an opportunity for students to see how wood from Coillte forests is processed locally and used in both the Irish and UK markets.

Forestry has always been part of the Mercy College story, with nine former pupils currently working in Coillte. Throughout the programme, students heard of the multiple benefits of forests for climate, nature, wood and people and for their local community.

The wrap up event for this year’s programme took place in Coillte’s Avondale Forest Park in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, where students visited the Beyond the Trees experience.

They also had the opportunity to meet fellow students from other schools in the programme, including Duiske College from Graignaumanagh, Co Kilkenny; St Tiernan’s College from Crossmolina, Co Mayo; and Patrician Presentation Secondary School from Fethard, Co Tipperary.

Mercy College teacher Angela Ryan said they were delighted to continue their partnership with Coillte and BITCI.

“The programme provides students with an opportunity to learn valuable transferable skills. It also promotes the idea of sustainability at a practical level. Overall, it creates a great sense of community, which we feel strongly about in our school,” she said.

Mark O’Loughlin, Regional Manager, Coillte, was equally delighted to support what he called ‘this important initiative and to give students the opportunity to learn more about forestry and the industry in their local area’.

“We have nine past pupils of Mercy College working with us, and we hope this initiative will encourage students to consider forestry as a career in the future. We look forward to continuing this partnership and working with Mercy College in the coming years ahead,” he said.

Tomas Sercovich, CEO Business in the Community Ireland, was grateful for Coillte’s continued involvement in delivering the World of Work programme.

“This programme gives second year students real world insights into different career options, provides soft skills training and encourages them to complete their education to maximise their employment opportunities,” he said.

“Gaining insights into the career options within the forestry industry together with learning about the importance of nature and biodiversity is really valuable to these students,” he added.


Representatives from Coillte and students from Mercy College, Woodford participating in the World of Work programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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