Choosing a Tree surgery apprentice

In this blog about taking on a tree surgery apprentice I will talk about the pros and cons. In my own case the apprentice was my eldest son. There is the obvious dynamic of juggling two different types of relationship which I had to navigate.

Getting Started

The tree surgery apprentice by definition doesn’t know a lot about the tree industry. On one hand that could be seen as a bad thing. However, there is the distinct benefit that you can start your apprentice from scratch and model a way of work and what ethics you want to instil. The scheme I signed up for was run by Myerscough College. Right from the start I was surprised at how thorough the course was. Not only were there practical courses but a lot of tutorials regarding tree biology.

What is involved for the tree surgery apprentice

The tree surgery apprentice course is over two years. During that time several short courses are taken and each has to be passed before going onto the next stage. At the start it is basic, chipper, chainsaw maintenance and small tree felling. Then progresses onto climbing and aerial rescue. In addition, there is a trauma course and traffic control. In the later stages the use of a chainsaw in the tree is taught and finally cherry picker use. This helps the apprentice develop new skills.

Invest, Teach, Develop

That is a short over view of the course. The next part is down to how the company teach, reinforce and help the tree surgery apprentice develop their skills. Like anything in life, it will deliver as much as the apprentice is prepared to put into it. At the end of the two years, you have a apprentice who has done all his tickets and is well on the way to being a valuable member of any tree surgery firm.  

How did it work out

OK, this is all very well in theory but how did it work out in practice. In our case it was a bit challenging. It got going and there was a change in tutors so we got off to a false start. The next tutor was very conscientious and hardworking and helped make up for lost time. Then covid struck and everything stood still. Zoom lectures were the call of the day once a month so at least that continued albeit in a remote way. The short courses were put on pause. I tried to invest in ongoing training and our work allowed plenty of opportunity for that.

Doing a recreational climb
Tree surgery apprentice
Tallest tree climb