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A piece of forest education for all!

Written by Alina Lehikoinen

The EFI-IFSA-IUFRO Project on Green Jobs has been running for almost three years now and is coming to an end in early 2022. The project has borne fruit, which could be seen at the project’s IUFRO World Day session. Juliet Achieng, Lisa Prior and the project’s trainee Alina Lehikoinen hosted a session called Bridging the gap between forest education and employment: Launch of IFSA TreE-Learning platform! with support from Simone Massaro from IFSA and Janice Burns from IUFRO. 

In the session Juliet provided insights into the project’s activities including preliminary results from the student survey conducted in 2020 and the Delphi study comparing forest-related employment in five focus countries (Brazil, China, Finland, Germany and United States of America). These results provide strong scientific grounds for the TreE-Learning platform that was also launched at the session. 

Session organizers at the session, from left to right and top to bottom: Simone Massaro, Juliet Achieng, Janice Burns, Lisa Prior and Alina Lehikoinen. 

The International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) has been producing learning content like webinars, workshops and reading materials for a long time but until now there hasn’t really been a place to collect and showcase them in an organized way nor has there been a strategy for creating effective learning content. In addition to addressing gaps in formal forest education, the TreE-Learning platform also fills in these organizational gaps. Although IFSA advocates for quality forest education that prepares students sufficiently for their future careers and hopes that the project’s findings will be taken into account by educational institutions, these processes often take time. Meanwhile IFSA wants to offer students around the world an opportunity to improve their knowledge and fill in the gaps themselves. 

Although the platform has been in the talks for some time now, its most active development hadn’t started until this August, at the start of the new IFSA term. What was launched at the IUFRO World Day event was the work of the last two months, which means that most of the platform’s life is still ahead and so, the future of the platform also needed to be addressed. As IFSA keeps creating more content, the platform keeps growing continuously. It is not planned to be complete in one day and it will keep evolving in the foreseeable future. Besides creating content from upcoming webinars, there will be specialized courses created specifically for the platform, like the forest policy course created in collaboration with the International Processes Commission of IFSA, already in the works. 

Poll results surveying session participants on their opinion on the approachability of different content formats. 

The visions aims and current content on the platform also seemed to respond to the expectations and needs of the audience, as more than 90% expressed that their formal education lacks or had lacked soft skills training. Polling participants on the attractiveness of different content formats also showed that the approach that the platform takes focusing on easily accessible and approachable short form content and especially short videos was in accordance with the audience’s opinion of interesting content. 

The TreE-Learning platform will keep on growing, improving and developing and we hope it finds its audiences. We also welcome feedback and collaboration to ensure the best possible growth for the platform. 

Test the TreE-Learning platform here, watch the launch event here, or find out more about the Green Jobs Project here

Cover image: Priscilla du Preez/Unsplash

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