Course helps arborists learn the ropes

19:31, Nov 21 2012
HEAD FOR HEIGHTS: Peter Orchard, in the tree, and Joe Cooper discuss rope techniques in a camphor laurel in the basin reserve in Kerikeri, wrapping up three weeks of arborist training in Kerikeri on Wednesday.

Climbing trees is not just for kids. A group of nine adults who recently finished a three-week course in arboriculture were up in the trees in Kerikeri on Wednesday.

Joe Cooper and Kent Thwaites have just wrapped a three-week course they deliver to get people into the arborist industry.

Mr Thwaites says they offer the course to get people interested in the industry and it has broad applications. "It crosses over to other trades where people might be looking for a change of career - maybe coming out of landscaping or forestry, for example," he says.

"For a lot of guys, the idea of climbing around in trees, using chainsaws and stuff like that is kind of appealing. It's a job where you can have a lot of fun, but you're doing a good job as well."

Thoughtplanters is a private training establishment approved by the NZQA to deliver arboriculture training through Telford Polytech, a division of Lincoln University.

The pre-trade certificate Mr Thwaites and Mr Cooper offer for aboriculture is a gateway to a job on the skills shortage list. The courses are delivered around the country.


On offer is a foundations certificate in arboriculture - it's the start of a three-year advanced certificate in arboriculture that comes through apprenticeships.

"We prune trees, we transplant trees, we plant trees, everything to do with a tree. Arboriculture means taking care of trees from seedling to maturity - not just bowling them for timber," Mr Cooper says.

Mr Cooper says the basic training they deliver is broad, including an introduction to the industry, plant identification, tree maintenance, and chainsaw use.

The electricity industry is the biggest employer of arborists in New Zealand.

A common theme on Wednesday was the simple pleasure of being outdoors.

"You've got to be ‘outdoory', have a head for heights maybe, and I always say a love of nature," Mr Cooper says.

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Bay Chronicle