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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

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Bridging the gap – The Intermediate Tree Inspection Course

Last Updated:  05/07/2018

The Professional Tree Inspection certificate (PTI) is widely recognised as the benchmark qualification for Arborists providing tree safety inspections and tree risk management recommendations and, as should be the case at this level, PTI qualification is tough and requires demonstration of an advanced level of knowledge and experience.

For those coming from a practical arboricultural background, the route for progression has been attendance of the Basic Tree Surveys & Inspections course (BTSI) together with self-study and other short courses to fill the knowledge gap. This, often unstructured, approach to career progression has undoubtedly contributed to the high failure rates associated with PTI. For those trained at a basic level, PTI is daunting and leads to many feeling that it is simply out of reach. For those that do try and progress, failure is disheartening and expensive.

As a PTI instructor Simon Scotting has witnessed first-hand the difficulties, knowledge gaps and frustration of PTI attendees. As an Arboricultural Consultant Simon has also experienced the isolation felt at times by all tree inspectors when faced with making difficult (often critical) decisions during tree safety inspections. Keen to help those wishing to progress and ease the isolation of tree inspections led Simon to the decision to develop a course that bridged the vast gap between BTSI and PTI. Enlisting the help of friend and fellow Arboricultural Consultant, Paul Cleaver, the concept of an intermediate tree inspection (ITI) course was refined.

The concept was to devise an attendance course providing:

  • the next step for those trained at basic level;
  • an opportunity for qualified tree inspectors to update their skills and knowledge
  • a time to meet new or old friends and calibrate thoughts of risk evaluation and mitigation measures.

The course was developed and first piloted in 2016 with two more courses successfully held in England and Wales during 2017 in collaboration with the Arboricultural Association (AA). Feedback from delegates and the AA was extremely positive and enquiries for future courses have continued to come in.

The 2-day course includes instructor-led sessions and theory-based presentations; we share innovative approaches and ideas and bring you the latest techniques and research from our industry. The course also features a separate lecture focussing on The Body Language of Trees.

Course outline

This course will help you:

Paul Cleaver

Chairman of the Arboricultural Association in Wales, Elite VTA Practitioner specialising in the body language of trees and a Bond Solon Expert Witness.

Simon Scotting

Simon, an approved Lantra Awards Freelance Instructor and Approved Instructor and Assessor for City & Guilds NPTC, has over 20 years’ experience in tree surgery and consultancy.

Feedback from previous delegates:

“I found the course very informative, taking away lots of snippets of good knowledge, tips and advice on progression. I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the presentations and found the subsequent discourse constructive.

I particularly liked the Bio-mechanics and VTA presentation and found the systematic (methodical) approach to inspections very helpful.

I still have a long way to go for the PTI course but it doesn’t feel so far out of reach now!”

John Benson, Tree Care professional – 1st Call Trees Ltd

“From my own point of view as owner of the Landmarc tree safety process, it gave me the confidence that our procedures are up to date with current thinking. I particularly enjoyed the outdoor practical sessions and the balance between that and the classroom learning was just about right.” 

Duncan Glen – Landmarc Support Services

Expressions of interest:

We will be running four courses over the spring and summer of 2018, one each in the north, east, south and west of the UK. If you could benefit from this course being held in your area please express your interest to