The Value of Learning for Arborists

Continuous Professional Development is an important part of the professional ensuring they are up to date with new ideas and thinking within the industry.  Attending seminars can be costly, and is often beyond the budget of many, especially those in the public sector, where the generous funds of the recent past are being squeezed.  It is therefore especially refreshing to see some of those in the private sector stepping up to the mark.

Barcham Trees, through the energy of their sales director, Keith Sacre, have been leading the way.  I met Keith earlier this year for a profile to be published in the ISA’s TreeLine magazine, due out in September.  I have benefitted from attending several of the seminars regularly held at the company’s offices in Ely, Cambridgeshire, over the years.  These seminars attract high calibre speakers, and are offered free of charge.

Keith explained to me that he had attended a conference where cutting edge ideas were being presented.  He then met with a tree officer who not only was unaware of the changes in thinking, but also explained he had little chance to attend such an event because his training budget was so small.  Keith realised that Barcham’s could host a seminar using the company’s new meeting room, capable of seating 60 people.  He persuaded leading figures to talk at the various seminars and hasn’t charged delegates for the privilege.  Barcham’s have even paid for catering.

This approach has culminated in Barcham’s hosting a biannual seminar for 400 delegates, the Big Barn, the most recent being held in June with speakers from Canada, the US and Myerscough College.  Barcham’s have also hosted seminars for the Consulting Arborist Society, enabling courses to be run which otherwise may not have been viable.

This year, Russell Ball, President of the ISA (UK&I Chapter) has worked hard with Gristwood & Toms to arrange a series of four one-day seminars which, to date, have included i-trees, tree policy, decay-detecting equipment and minimum-dig surfaces.  With Gristwood & Toms paying for catering, the events are provided free of charge.  I attended the first two and found them most informative.

I, for one, value the support of these companies in making learning more accessible.

Mark Chester is a practising tree consultant at Cedarwood Tree Care, director of the Consulting Arborist Society and a former Tree Officer. A graduate in Amenity Horticulture, he holds the AA Technician?s Certificate. He is a Chartered Environmentalist and Professional Member of the Arboricultural Association and the Institute of Horticulture. As a professional arborist, Mark prepares tree reports for clients from is Herefordshire consultancy.