I recently delivered a presentation to the Plumpton College Foundation Degree (Forestry & Arboriculture) first year students, on my route into the industry and experiences from a training and contracting background.
The aim of guest speakers is to expose the students to a range of outside experience and expertise and perhaps to some less obvious career directions and even some new ways of looking at the industry.
This was the third time I have been invited to Plumpton, and one of the key themes I tried to get across on this presentation was the idea of integrated working – where virtuous cycles of products and services are set up and maintained, for me this idea is working right across the tree surgery & forestry training business, the arboricultural contracting and forestry services businesses but is easiest to look at with the training estate in Lamberhurst, where small markets are being developed for the wood products that are produced in part by training course activity.
One example of this is in the development of markets for the western hemlock removed as part of the PAWS restoration, this is a classic low value product that is barely worth dealing with. In order to produce a high quality finish to the woodlands we need to get more for each ton of material produced, and simply turning it into kindling or bagged logs is one way, and whilst not offering amazing returns if this principle is repeated across several products then more can be reinvested in the estate.
· Aim to provide a diverse range of products and services
· Maximise the value added opportunities
· Substitute for estate produced products for bought in ones where possible
Our former part time employee and Adobe Guru Matt now works at Plumpton, and over lunch he mentioned that he thought it would be valuable to get outside speakers involved in the 12 week Tree Surgery training programme that he is helping to deliver. Since I had effectively booked out the day to deliver the first presentation I suggested doing it straight away.
The key theme for this second presentation was looking at their likely next steps as the course was coming to its conclusion. Areas I focused on were:
· Skill consoilidation and advancement
· Employer selection – look for the whole package on offer not just the headline rates.
· Don’t be pressured into working beyond your experience or skill level
· CPD – A career in Arboriculture means lifelong learning
· Networks, continue to build on those already established.
· Compliance - insurance and other legal requirements.
· Community involvement
Having ideas is one thing, but turning them into reality is quite another – it's easy to procrastinate and delay or avaoid difficult decisions altogether. One way to look at this is to adopt the start now approach – it’s the opposite of the ‘I’ll do it when the times right’, or “in the New Year”, or “when I have saved enough money”. Good luck with your projects for 2014!
All of our training team are Lantra approved arborist instructors. Get in touch to get yourself booked on to one of our many courses including chainsaw training, tree cutting courses and LOLER inspection courses.