Trees and Timber (Wales)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR03809
Issue number: 4
Issued: 11 March 2016

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Trees and Timber (Wales)
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Contact name: Sandie Absalom
Telephone number: 02476 696996
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Defining Apprenticeships

An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme.  It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with essential and personal skills, required for their immediate job and future career. These are acquired through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off the job training and the opportunity to practice and embed new skills in a real work context. This broader mix differentiates the Apprenticeship experience from training delivered to meet narrowly focused job needs.

On completion of the Apprenticeship the apprentice must be able to undertake the full range of duties, in the range of circumstances appropriate to the job, confidently and competently to the standard set by the industry.

The Trees and Timber Industry

The purpose of the Trees and Timber Apprenticeship framework is to encourage entry into and progression within the industry.

The trees and timber industry plays an important role in the land-based and environmental sector and can be split into the following main work streams; arboriculture and forestry.

Arboriculture and forestry both involve working with and around trees. Forests and woodland are an important resource for timber, amenity and recreation, tourism and biodiversity. Forestry focuses on the management of forests and woodland, whereas arboriculture centres on the cultivation, management and care for individual trees, or groups of trees, with the primary aim of maintaining them for amenity purposes , with the primary aim of maintaining them for amenity purposes. Although both areas of work include working with individual and groups of trees they have a different outcome and this means that the process and equipment used is different from one another.

The industry is highly specialised and can involve working with a vast array of machines, materials and equipment; from planting stock and chemicals through to chainsaws, harvesters and computer software. A wide range of skills and knowledge is therefore required as there is a significant variety of jobs and tasks involved.

Often when qualified, workers are called upon by government, companies and individuals alike to work alone or in small teams in the field, this requires good knowledge of health and safety legislation and working alone policies. This type of work requires specific skills and knowledge in which learners will gain from completing an apprenticeship in trees and timber.

Micro-businesses dominate the workforce within the trees and timber industry. 94% of forestry businesses employ fewer than ten members of staff, compared to 68% of businesses across all sectors. The fact that they are often remote micro-businesses means that there is a reliance on staff being qualified with up to date technology.

The trees and timber workforce is also an ageing workforce with more than half of the employees in the industry aged over 40 and only 11% of the industry are under 25. This is partly due to the nature of the industry with legislation relating to equipment used within the industry, and age restrictions that apply. The Trees and Timber Apprenticeship framework is now available at Level 2 and 3 to offer apprentices a progression route into and within the industry.

Current qualifications/provision and evidence of continued demand/marketing activity

During the review of this Apprenticeship, Lantra involved the Welsh members of it's trees and timber industry group, which included employers and organisations such as: Forestry Commission, Country Land and Business Association, Arboricultural Association, Royal Forestry Society and many other small businesses.

This Apprenticeship framework has been revised to take into account the revisions to the Treework National Occupational Standards, which were revised to reflect the changing needs of the industry. Through the revision, industry have made sure the Apprenticeship offers learners the opportunity to develop basic treework skills and a progression route into the industry by continuing to offer the level 2 and 3 Apprenticeship.

The Level 2 and Level 3 Diplomas in Work-based Trees & Timber include three mainstreams of work within the industry, Arboriculture, General Woodland and Forestry Treework and Coppicing and Greenwood Trades. At level 2, the industry has fed back that within the Arboriculture route, there is a need for chainsaw units to become mandatory, as it is essential for the industry that these skills are gained when entering the industry. However, within the General Woodland and Forestry Treework pathway, the industry has requested that flexibility within the structure is not lost, hence there continues to be a small number of mandatory units but a wider choice of optional units and within the Coppicing and Greenwood Trades pathway there are specific units that this part of the industry requires.

At level 3, all pathways have minimal mandatory units which offer the flexibility to the learner to complete a qualification that is suitable for them.

Previous uptake of the Apprenticeship in Wales has been low over recent years and Lantra is currently working with Welsh providers to look at collaborative approaches to delivery and promotion of the framework.  Due to the trees and timber industry being so diverse job roles used within this framework can only be used as a guide as employers will use different job titles for individual’s carrying out the same role. Typical jobs available include:

  • Foundation Apprenticeship may include: forest worker, forest ranger, general worker, or base level arborist (groundworker)
  • Apprenticeship may include: assistant head forester, contractor (harvesting and/or establishment), social forester, woodland manager, team leader/supervisor.

The framework will also contribute to meeting the skills priorities in Wales by:

  • Providing flexible access to a high quality (Level 2 and Level 3) skills programme for trees and timber
  • Incorporating skills to improve the levels of general literacy and numeracy in Wales
  • Using technical and competence qualifications, valued by employers, to help their businesses grow
  • Developing apprentices’ employability skills, making them more attractive to all employers whatever career they choose
  • Providing a career pathway into jobs and training at intermediate and higher levels, to provide the skills that the economy needs to grow.

Further information on the trees and timber industry can be found at:;



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Trees and Timber (Wales)
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