Richard Wilson writes…
My career in trees started in 2003 on a family holiday in Scotland. I was working in pharmaceuticals at the time and I realised I couldn’t face going back to life in the labs. ‘I want to work out there,’ I told my wife, pointing at the tree-covered mountainsides. Her reply, ‘Go on then,’ was how it began.
The first part of my career was on the tools. My first steps were as a volunteer with the Herts, Beds and Cambs Wildlife Trust, before gaining some NPTC certificates and establishing a tree services company with my wife in 2007. During this period I gained the RFS Certificate followed by the RFS Professional Diploma in Arboriculture. I joined the Arboricultural Association as a Technician Member in 2009 and also enjoyed a short spell as a part-time Temporary Tree Officer at the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (2011–12). The next year I was surprised and delighted to be awarded the RFS/Lockhart Garrett trophy at the Association’s annual conference.
Although my plan was always to move into consulting at some stage, the timing was determined by my body telling me to stop climbing. I sold the business at the end of 2015 and relocated to Wales to establish my consultancy practice, Wilson Tree Surveys. Following the purchase of a Picus sonic tomograph, I decided it was time to realise my dual ambitions to become both Chartered and Registered. I became a Professional member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters in December 2018 and completed the Registered Consultant process in January this year.
For me, determining when to apply to become a Registered Consultant was a very personal calculation: I needed to feel ‘ready’, reasonably confident that my work was of a high standard, and that I had a portfolio of reports of sufficient breadth and depth to meet the scheme requirements. Putting myself forward for assessment brought valuable, detailed feedback to develop my performance and generate the confidence that I was looking for. I found that the process was both part of my professional development and a demonstration of my competence.
The process is challenging and the interview stage was a rigorous examination of my knowledge and standards. I’ve had a lot of support from those who trained me (formally and ‘on the job’), from my peers and colleagues, and most importantly from my long-suffering wife, Sally. Thank you all.
I’m enthusiastically looking forward to the next stage of my career as part of the community of Registered Consultants and I hope that in some small way I may be able to assist in the further development of the Association and of arboriculture more widely.
Article taken from The ARB Magazine Issue 184 Spring 2019. As a member you can view The ARB Magazine online, simply Log In and view the 'ARB Magazine' tab in your Account Area.