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An education in trees A student’s perspective

Author:  Arboricultural Association
  12/06/2024
Last Updated:  12/06/2024

In this second of three articles from Reaseheath College in Cheshire we hear about the educational experiences of an arboriculture and forestry student and glimpse what lies ahead as we shape the next generation to enter this progressive industry. Charlotte Brock is studying for a Level 3 T Level in Tree and Woodland Management and Maintenance.

Charlotte says …

Having previously completed a Level 3 Diploma in Land and Wildlife Conservation at Reaseheath College, my passion for trees and caring for the environment made me realise I wanted to focus my career more on arboriculture and forestry.

Thanks to the industry-focused opportunities offered by Reaseheath, I am now developing my skills through relevant experience and gaining professional tickets and qualifications which are well recognised within the sector.

From our first day, our tutors made sure everyone felt welcomed and appreciated. We understood from the beginning that we would be supported to achieve our future careers and aspirations. From indoor classroom work to outdoor practical sessions, our tutors always have our best interests at heart.

With the T Level course being new to us all, I was a little unsure how the modules would be graded and applied. However, there are many forms of assessment. This allows each of us to understand our strengths and weaknesses, which in turn helps us to improve our progress and achievements. The subjects we study are very wide ranging, from business, finance and sustainability to tree science and the identification of tree pests and diseases. It makes you realise that there is a place in the industry for everyone!

With over 20 students on the course, we often work together in small teams on industry-based tasks and projects. Practical days are without a doubt our favourite part of the week, as we get the chance to try new skills which will help us progress in our professional careers. I was both excited and nervous when faced with learning the ins and outs of a chainsaw.

However, with reassuring instructions and enthusiasm from my tutor, my doubts were quickly replaced with an eagerness to get going. Practical sessions can vary from disassembling machinery for maintenance to managing woodlands and individual trees. Either way, there is never time to be bored!

So far, climbing is the highlight of the course for me. There is nothing more exhilarating than hanging in the air, with a few ropes and fancy clips holding you to the side of a tree!

From the moment my feet left the ground, and I climbed my way up my first tree, I knew there was no going back – this is my calling!

As well as our college training, the course includes a substantial work placement where we have the opportunity to work in arboriculture and forestry businesses. We have a dedicated day of the week for this, along with a whole week to help complete the hours. This gives us an insight into how the industry works, and the challenges land-based companies face on a daily basis.

My next step after this course is still in question, but there are several options for me to consider such as university, an apprenticeship or full-time employment. My ideal career would be a mixture of conservation, arboriculture and forestry.

Working abroad across different countries and engaging with a wide range of communities and organisations is something I would love to experience, while helping to create and enhance diverse habitats.

There is a growing demand for professionals within the forestry and arboriculture industry and the range of careers and job opportunities are vast, interesting and can be financially rewarding. From tree surgeons and arborists to arboricultural surveyors, forestry rangers and managers, the options are wide, fulfilling, and ecologically important.

Today there are more women within the industry than ever before, which is hugely encouraging, not only to me, but also for future female foresters and arborists.

Reaseheath’s forestry and arboriculture courses are growing in popularity and attracting all genders, creating a diverse workplace.

Having already completed a quarter of the course, I am filled with hope and confidence for the future of the environment and my career in forestry and arboriculture. I am optimistic that this course will inspire many more to join the industry.

Reaseheath College offers industry-focused further and higher education, delivered by professionals in dedicated and modern facilities. For further details:

www.reaseheath.ac.uk/forestry

Charlotte Brock enjoying a tree climbing session.

Charlotte Brock enjoying a tree climbing session.

Carrying out tree surveys.

Carrying out tree surveys.


This article was taken from Issue 205 Summer 2024 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.