Agenda item

Guest Speaker - Richard Pyshorn, Director of Secure Forests CIC

The Joint Committee will receive a presentation from Guest Speaker Richard Pyshorn, Director of Secure Forests CIC.


Richard Pyshorn (Director of Secure Forests CIC) delivered a presentation to the Joint Committee and discussed:


a)     The non-profit organisation, Secure Forests CIC, had been established at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park to enable armed forces and blue light veterans to utilise their skills in the natural environment. While providing a skilled workforce, this was also highly beneficial for veterans mental and physical wellbeing;


b)    Richard had undertaken over 10 years of voluntary work in rainforests around the world, training rangers, particularly in central and south America;


c)     Secure Forests had trained 10 veterans in forestry skills, and three had secured full time employment in the local community;


d)    24 Veterans were scheduled to go through skills training courses next year, with 36 scheduled for the year after;


e)     A business plan was being developed to work with corporate economic and social governance (ESG), to fund veterans training and wildlife conservation projects around the world. This ensured that training places were fully funded;


f)      Recruitment to Secure Forests was predominantly though referrals from charities, and potential recruits were encouraged to undertake voluntary work at Mount Edgcumbe before enrolling;


g)     Courses lasted seven weeks and could train up to eight people at a time. This could be completed in stages for those with work/ other commitments, or in seven consecutive weeks;


h)    The course helped attain meaningful qualifications, with accredited training provided by Duchy College, Secure Forests CIC, and the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL), resulting in a level 4 qualification;


i)      Training modules included health and safety, first aid, risk management level 4, chainsaw, brush-cutter, tractor driving, drone piloting, and others, providing a diverse set of transferrable skills. One of the projects underway at Mount Edgcumbe was a Cornish hedging programme, which was a ‘red listed’ skill;


j)      A workshop and teaching facility had been established at the Park to facilitate the courses, and members were invited to view the facilities;


k)     An open day was being held in one weeks time, with 8 possible candidates expected to be in attendance. This included a former Afghan interpreter.


In response to questions, the Joint Committee discussed:


l)      Referrals to the programme were open to self-referral, and the Joint Committee were encouraged to suggest any suitable candidates for the course that they knew of;


m)   Secure Forests were working with Natural England to compile a central database of qualified workers, so that other employers could view and draw upon the skillsets as required. This helped maximise employment opportunities for veterans who had completed the course;


n)    The Oak Foundation had provided initial funding for the foundation of Secure Forests, through grants. It was crucial to attain corporate ESG investment to ensure the project was enduring, encouraging corporations to invest in carbon security, as well as traditional carbon offset programmes;


o)    Secure forests were working with Exeter University and the University of Leister Space Lab to develop LIDAR carbon models of forests, to monitor vegetation density and thus measure the impact of carbon security provided by the rangers;


The Joint Committee agreed:


1.     To request to be provided with further information on how to refer someone to the Secure Forests programme;


2.     To ensure that relevant contacts within Cornwall Council were passed to Secure Forests, to facilitate ongoing support and signposting;


3.     To thank Richard Pyshorn (Director of Secure Forests CIC) for the presentation.