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Branching out: why tradespeople should consider tree surgeon training

May 24, 2019

Learning the skills required to become a tree surgeon can help tradespeople take on additional jobs, especially in the quieter months. In this blog, we detail the steps required to learn the skill and what’s needed to start working in the sector.
tree surgeon

Keep on climbing

It doesn’t matter if you call them tree surgeons or arborists, one thing is for certain; it takes a special type of person to spend their days suspended in a tree. However, for those daredevils who are brave enough to do the task on a daily basis it’s work that’s well-rewarded. What’s more, jobs are constant all year round, meaning those in the trade have a consistent stream of work.

Such prosperity has not gone unnoticed, each year, more and more people join the arborist ranks often transitioning from another trade in the process. It’s no surprise, many tradespeople, especially horticultural specialists and landscaping experts will already possess a lot of the skills and experience required to make it as a tree surgeon. Becoming accredited allows you to add another string to your bow and means you can offer customers a more comprehensive service.

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Know the risks

However, before making the switch, it’s important to remember that being a tree surgeon is a job that comes with risks. As such, it’s no surprise that the accreditation process is rigorous. It’s not just a case of learning how to cut down trees, but additionally how to work safely at height. What’s more, tree surgeons need to be aware of the environments in which they work, to this end, it’s crucial that those involved in the sector have a solid understanding of the different types of trees, shrubs and plants across the UK.


We spoke to Steve Bullman of ArbTalk, the UK’s premier arboriculture website about how tradespeople can best go about making the transition. He commented: “We see a lot of construction professionals making the switch, especially those who have previously been involved in the horticultural and fencing sectors. My advice would be to get yourself on a course and get a good grounding on the subject. You’ll have to receive the relevant competency certificates, which are administered by City & Guilds before you can start working.”

The necessary skills

On top of competency certifications, it’s important that those considering the change have a number of practical skills that are crucial to the job at hand. Below is a list of skills every good tree surgeon should have:

• Good working with hands
• Physically fit
• Mentally strong
• Comfortable with heights
• Responsible
• Reliable team player
• Strong communication skills
• Interest in wildlife
• Ability to work outside
• Qualified to use a chainsaw

Tradespeople might recognise some of these skills as traits they already possess. It’s one of the reasons why the career path between the construction trades and arboriculture has become so well-trodden in recent years. It’s particularly applicable for horticulture, landscape and fencing professionals who might find that they’re already competing for jobs where arboriculture services are required. Failing to provide such services, as part of a broader solution might be leading to firms missing out on important jobs.

For Steve, tradespeople shouldn’t be scared to try out the discipline, even if it’s just to find out if they’re up to the task at hand. He commented: “My advice would be to seek out some on the job experience. You can’t beat getting hands-on, especially in this sector where so much comes down to how you respond under pressure. Our website, ArbTalk, is a great place for anyone who’s just starting out. It acts as a resource to the trades, giving 32,000 members a place to connect with one another. Not only will you find the best equipment on the site but also, some great advice on the tech and training on offer to the trade.”

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