Lantra Awards Chainsaw Training Instructors

Lantra Awards Chainsaw Training Instructors – are they any good – how do we know?

Recertification Event – Kent, October 2017 – Sweet chestnut

Standards, standards and more standards.


Lantra Awards recently held a mandatory recertification event on our site in Kent this October.

Students on our range of chainsaw and climbing courses are normally assessed at the end of the course in the relevant City & Guilds units. This means that they should be used to having their skills tested, and hopefully recognised by the award of a certificate of competence or license to practice and skills card. These qualifications are the gateway to employment by most arboricultural and forestry businesses.

City & Guilds assessors will have gone through a technical evaluation, followed up by assessing training and standard setting. Lantra Award Instructors and Assessors will have gone through an in depth telephone interview, at first to see whether they are suitable to progress to the technical evaluation, followed up by instructional techniques and technical standards courses. Prior to around 2006 there were also frequent recertification events (a mini technical evaluation if you like), jointly applicable for those NPTC assessors and Lantra instructors to take part in.

The last few years have seen the awarding bodies work together less, running less frequent update events. These updates have been variable, some extremely positive and useful, whereas others have involved a lot of hot air, and not much skill demonstration. This changed subtly last year when Lantra ran a chainsaw training course and climbing update (again compulsory), where a little skill demonstration was required. This however was a minor part of the day and it seemed more about facilitation discussion rather than testing ability seriously.

In a welcome move to maintain high standards, Lantra now require ALL chainsaw training instructors to attend and pass a thorough skills, knowledge & experience test  - the recertification event.

Lantra contacted us in August and requested use of our site to hold the Kent regions 2 days of recertifications, with two verifiers Chalky White and John Trenchard evaluating 6 instructors per day.

After coffee and introductions, the day started with a ‘motivational’ briefing by the Technical Standards Verifier (TSV) team, where some previous poor performance was pointed out.

The consequences of any such poor performance was stated immediately and in some cases resulted in a development plan to address particular areas. If instructors are unable to rectify the poor performance and complete the recertification, it can ultimately result in the instructor having their status immediately removed.

With a range of chainsaw chains present, we had to identify and list the type, size as well as main sharpening specifications. An example being, ‘21BPX – a 0.325 pitch 1.5mm gauge semi chisel chain with bumper drive links requiring a 4.8mm file at 30 degrees and 10 degrees.’

These answers were then marked as a group and handed to the TSVs; who thoroughly enjoyed discovering who had scored 100%!

Then came the first part of the practical assessment - to set up and perform the 4 small tree felling cuts – step, 80/20, spear and double v on trees under 200mm (the so called titchy trees!) Fueling, starting and site organisation were all set out to look as if we were demonstrating to a group on a normal chainsaw course.

After a quick debrief on these cuts, we were then asked to perform the 4 main cuts for trees under 380mm, the small tree felling cuts – Standard, split level, dog tooth and Danish or safe corner. We were also asked to exhibit hung up tree techniques with winch use or explanation demo. Feedback was given on the cuts as the TSVs circulated the site, with the work graded on the performance scale listed at the end of the article.

Most of us don’t especially like being assessed or evaluated, and it’s a good reminder for instructors to put themselves in the position of the candidates they have prepared for assessment. So when booking on of our chainsaw training courses, you can be assured that we only use Lantra Awards instructors (even if the course is non Lantra) and everyone we use have been successful in the recent recertification event. Always feel free to ask what quality assurance your instructor been subject to!



A general definition of the standard of performance required is listed below.

The applicant should aspire to demonstrate “an exemplary demonstration of performance on demand”.

The recertification will also evaluate the underpinning knowledge of legislation relating to the use of the different types of equipment and/or activities covered on the related Lantra training course. This includes reference to relevant Acts of Parliament, Health and Safety Regulations (their revisions and/or amendments) and in particular industry specific guidance from the HSE and other government bodies.

Throughout the recertification the Technical Verifier will assess and grade your knowledge and performance from 1-5.  

1. A poor level of knowledge, almost certainly backed by a severe lack of, if any, practical experience. A potential instructor/assessor at this level would demonstrate skills and knowledge below the standard of the relevant Certificate of Competence, and would be unlikely to pass the relevant test without further training and experience

2. A less than sufficient level of technical knowledge, but the Instructor/Assessor does have some practical experience in the topic or subject matter. At this level an Instructor/Assessor would be likely to have difficulty with most participative training or assessment situations and would be relying on a practical background to cover deficiencies in technical knowledge. This level would be broadly equivalent to the relevant Certificate of Competence standard.

3. Adequate level of knowledge to cope with average training and assessment requirements. There may be identifiable gaps in knowledge and, in some cases, Instructor/Assessors could be considered marginal. They will have some practical experience in the topic matter and will be able to demonstrate an exemplary performance in some, but not all, instances. Instructor/Assessors at this level may have difficulty with applicants of higher knowledge level or greater practical experience, and could have difficulty responding to particularly technical questions or challenges from trainees.

4. A good level of technical knowledge that has been acquired from relevant practical experience and theoretical sources. Instructor/Assessors at this level will have the ability to demonstrate an exemplary performance on most, but not all, occasions, and to work out answers to difficult questions using acquired knowledge, but may need to use reference sources for answers to some questions.

5. Excellent all-round theoretical knowledge of all aspects of the topic, which is supported by very extensive relevant practical experience. Instructor/Assessors at this level will be able to demonstrate an exemplary performance on demand, and answer technical questions easily without the need for reference