Confor announced the winners of the Confor Awards 2023 as part of a ceremony at Surgeons Quarter, Edinburgh this week. Future forestry leaders, great communicators and inspiring innovators were honoured alongside a dedicated servant of the industry at Confor’s largest-ever awards dinner.

Neil White of Scottish Woodlands Ltd won the Tom A Bruce-Jones Memorial Award for Future Leader in the Forest Industry, which is sponsored by James Jones & Sons Ltd.

The award is presented to an individual with outstanding skills, who has the potential to be a leader in the forestry and timber sector - someone showing initiative, passion and making a real difference to the sector.

Shortlisted nominees were:

  • Neil White, Scottish Woodlands Ltd (WINNER)
  • Miriam Jones Walters, Natural Resource Wales
  • Dr Kate Palmer, Pryor & Rickett Silviculture

Judges said Future Leader winner Neil White, who oversees mentoring and training on Scottish Woodlands Ltd's graduate programme, was a "rounded, confident, and highly competent senior manager". As well as working to develop younger staff, he has undertaken significant training to hone his skills while managing some of the UK’s largest forests.

Tom Bruce-Jones, Chairman of James Jones & Sons, said “I’m delighted to present this award in honour of my late father, who was always particularly keen to see ability and ambition in the industry and to give opportunities to young and up-and-coming individuals for the future.”

Confor would like to thank the award sponsors: Forestry Commission, Forestry & Land Scotland, the Institute of Chartered Foresters, James Jones & Sons, Scottish Woodlands Ltd and Tilhill.