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Arborist Apprenticeship Level 2

Arborist Apprenticeship at Bedford College

The arboricultural industry manages trees for their benefits and values in diverse urban and rural locations, from city parks and urban woodlands to country estates and private gardens. The industry manages trees adjacent to highways, railways, watercourses and power lines. An arborist may progress to undertake inspections and surveys of individual and woodland trees, advising landowners on how to care for their trees, or teaching others about the benefits of carefully managing trees.

The work of an arborist involves diverse activities such as chainsaw work, aerial tree work, pruning, dismantling and using appropriate machinery such as brushwood chippers.

Arborists can work for local authorities, private companies and many are also self- employed. Tree work can be physically demanding and involves working outdoors in all weathers.

An arborist will undertake aerial tree work as well as ground-based operations and is capable of supporting tree work teams across a range of technical skills.

Entry requirements

Grade requirements: You will need a minimum of GSCE Maths and English grade 3 or D, or equivalent.

Course content

You will gain knowledge on:

  • The benefits of trees
  • The use and application of arboricultural equipment
  • The principles of the establishment, growth and care of trees
  • The principles and importance of identifying trees and the value of using their scientific names
  • The principles and importance of identifying and managing pests, diseases and disorders of trees
  • Current environmental, wildlife and health and safety legislation, standards and codes of practice in relation to arboricultural works
  • Legislation relating to trees e.g. Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas
  • Procedures and specific instructions for dealing with incidents and emergencies
  • Electrical safety for working in the vicinity of power lines

You will learn the skills required to:

  • Recognise health and safety needs onsite and work safely
  • Take instruction from the job supervisor and other senior work colleagues to include signing onto the site specific risk assessment / emergency action plan and maintaining records
  • Select appropriate equipment for the task. Load and unload equipment safely
  • Set out work place signage (highway & non highway) and assist with traffic control
  • Process tree work arisings using appropriate machinery
  • Take appropriate care of tools, equipment and customer property
  • Recognise a basic range of tree and shrub species using common and scientific names
  • Identify pests, diseases, disorders and tree defects
  • Carry out a range of ground-based pruning operations
  • Fell and process small trees
  • Support aerial tree workers with both a Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) and climbing with transfer of equipment for aerial tree work operations
  • Perform an aerial rescue of colleague from a rope and harness and a MEWP
  • Work safely at height in the tree under supervision
  • Prepare sites for planting, plant trees and provide support, protection and aftercare

Understand the behaviours to:

  • Have a safety mind-set to protect self, colleagues and others
  • Work effectively within a team/crew
  • Consistently present a professional manner both in appearance, language and behaviour
  • Be reliable: consistently attend work and arrive on time
  • Communicate effectively with the job supervisor, colleagues, clients and others to achieve the specification

Assessment methods

You will be assessed by:

Final end point assessments shall be composed of four elements:

  • A holistic project – giving the apprentice the opportunity to undertake a business related project over a one-week period away from the normal workplace
  • A structured interview with an assessor exploring what has been produced during the apprenticeship and the project plus testing additional knowledge not covered elsewhere.
  • Multiple choice online knowledge tests
  • Practical tests

All end point assessments are externally assessed.


You will gain the following qualifications:

  • LANTRA Level 2 Arboriculture
  • Level 1 or and Level 2 English or Maths
  • Level 3 First Aid at Work
  • Traffic Management (NRSWA Unit 002 Signing, Lighting and Guarding)

Plus, the following licence to practice qualifications

  • NPTC Level 2 award in safe use of brushwood chipper
  • NPTC Level 2 award in chainsaw maintenance & crosscutting
  • NPTC Level 2 award in felling and processing trees up to 380mm
  • NPTC Level 2 award in accessing a tree using a rope and harness & aerial rescue
  • NPTC Level 3 award in aerial cutting of trees using free fall techniques
  • NPTC Level 2 award in safe use of mobile elevated work platform (IPAF)
  • NPTC Level 3 award in use of a chainsaw from a Mobile Elevated Work Platform

TimBy his own confession, Tim is a real ‘outdoorsy’ type! He started working at Center Parcs Woburn Forest two years ago as a Ground Assistant. While he had plenty of experience in construction and carpentry, he had no formal qualifications.

“I was a police officer for three years”, said Tim, “but what I love about being involved in the outdoors is that you can immediately see where you’ve been and the progress made. You can’t do that in the police force; it’s very paperwork heavy.” 

In his role as Ground Assistant, Center Parcs gave Tim the opportunity to become qualified through the apprenticeship programme at Shuttleworth College. “They’re committed to ongoing training and investing in their employees”, said Tim. “Although I could do all the manual stuff, it was about learning the approved methods.”

The apprenticeship took Tim 18 months to complete with day release from work to attend College once a week. “My tutors were great, very helpful and I could approach them with any questions or queries. I didn’t find it a problem getting back into learning after so long.”

Tim’s apprenticeship covered the skills and knowledge required for a wide variety of arboriculture duties, such as preparing sites for planting, controlling unwanted vegetation and maintaining health and safety. He gained the Work-Based Trees & Timber (Arboriculture) NPTC/City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma plus Forestry and Arboriculture City & Guilds Certificate and he is now considering other day and short course qualifications to complement his career plans.

Tim is now a Senior Ranger at Center Parcs Woburn Forest. “Everything from emptying bins to cutting down trees, this job involves carpentry work and ground work too”, he explained. “It’s all about reacting to the jobs that come in in a timely and correct manner. It was definitely worth taking on the apprenticeship as it’s given me the formal qualifications I needed to progress my career.”

Tim – Arborist Apprenticeship Level 2

Further study and career options

Further study: On successful completion of this apprenticeship you can progress on to an advanced apprenticeship or further arboriculture qualifications.

Future careers: These qualifications can help you to progress in roles such as forest worker, forest officer or arboriculturalist.

Additional information
Apprentices are required to complete 20% off-the-job training during the on-programme phase of their apprenticeship which must take place in the apprentice’s contracted hours (college attendance contributes towards this count). The apprentice must also complete a portfolio of evidence during their on-programme learning. The portfolio is not graded but will form the basis for the questioning during the professional discussion conducted close to the end of the programme.

Course Information & How to Apply

To start this Apprenticeship you will need to be employed in a relevant job role – visit the Apprenticeships section of our website, where you can view our Apprenticeship vacancies. For further information or queries you can email us or call 01234 291747.

LengthDay(s)FeesLocationCourse Code
24 months 1 day a week complemented by block placements Apprentices do not have to pay a fee to study, however the employer may be required to pay depending on their Levy entitlement/age of the candidate. For further information call 01234 291747. Shuttleworth College B1368 Course in progress


Additional Learning Support
If you have a specific learning difficulty or disability, are deaf or hearing impaired, our Additional Learning Support team are on hand to give you assistance whenever you need it.  Find out more.

Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome Support
At Bedford College, we are committed to developing the provision for students on the autistic spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome.  Find out more.

We have access arrangements in place to help students with disabilities or any other particular needs. Call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Additional formats
Course information sheets are also available in large print and audio formats. Call us on
01234 291000 to order your copy.

Next steps

To be eligible for an apprenticeship you must either be employed on a full-time contract by an employer willing to support your training or have an offer of employment as an apprentice. Bedford College can help you find a job role with an employer if you don’t already have one.

» Find out more and how to apply

Bedford College actively seeks to promote equality of access to education and training and to provide support where appropriate. Employers are made aware that apprentices have the same rights to protection against discrimination, harassment and victimisation under the Equality Act 2010 as employees. 

Apprentices who have disclosed a disability covered by Equality legislation have the right to request reasonable adjustments in the workplace. We will work with employers to ensure that appropriate adjustments are agreed and established to facilitate this.

At the College we provide additional support for students and apprentices who have a specific learning difficulty or disability.

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