Big River’s hardwood flooring relies on native hardwood veneers.

In the same way timber is a renewable resource, so are forestry workers if they’re tended properly. For decades, Forestry Corporation of NSW has offered the career paths for university graduates who have completed their studies in the fields of forestry, agriculture, environmental science and natural resources.

Under the 2022/23 graduate program, three successful applicants obtained a permanent role with Forestry Corporation undertaking two years of ‘on-the-job’ training. Lydia Kearns is based in Wauchope on the Mid North Coast, Jack Power is based at Bateman’s Bay on the South Coast and Justin Yip is working in the Riverina at Tumut.

“I originally grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, however, I always spent much of my free time out in the bush mountain biking, climbing, or trekking,” Yip said.

“I always aspired to have an occupation working outdoors but never really took up the opportunity to do so until 2018, when I decided to continue with my tertiary studies.”

Justin enrolled in a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management degree, specialising in Parks, Recreation and Heritage at Charles Sturt University. 

“Just before I graduated last year, I began to look for work opportunities and fortunately came across the Forestry Corporation website,” he said. 

“It aligned with my interests and values in land management, environmental conservation, and recreation.”

Yip applied for the Graduate Forester position in Forestry Corporation’s Soft Woods Division at Tumut, where he is completing his first rotation within the silviculture division. “It’s a diverse and dynamic role with opportunities to learn field and office-based tasks as well as firefighting skills,” Yip said. “The most exciting part of this program is the opportunity to gain an in-depth experience in all aspects of the business.”

Kearns took up a position in the hardwood division in Wauchope having moved to the Mid North Coast from the Blue Mountains. “In my last year of studying at the University of Sydney, I was figuring out my next steps, when I saw the graduate program advertised,” she said.

“My degree was in environmental science, ecology and evolutionary biology, so I was very interested in the native forestry industry.

“I have spent a lot of time camping and four-wheel driving in the bush, so was already familiar with State Forests and what they can offer. Being able to work in the bush is definitely a win. It’s the best job in the world!”

The graduate foresters recently completed a field trip to the North Coast, which took in a tour of Big River Group’s Junction Hill sawmill, near Grafton.

It took the forestry experience full circle for them, seeing first-hand how the sawlogs harvested from the forests they help to manage are made into world-class timber products, including Big River Group’s new-generation engineered, prefinished hardwood flooring, using native hardwood veneer over a plywood core.

If you know a student who is interested in land management, Forestry Corporation will begin fielding applications to the 2023/24 Graduate Program in August, see