G’day. It has been a while since the last blog, maybe nothing much has been worth scrummaging for between the posts. The winds of change are once again blowing across the pitch making small but important changes in direction. The Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) will end for the ABC Awards arboricultural qualifications this season in September 2017 and the new Regulated Qualification Framework will kick off for arboriculture. The lines of the qualifications will remain largely unchanged, students are hardly likely to notice any change in colours. Jeremy Benson Executive Director for Vocational Qualifications states “We don’t claim it will transform the qualifications landscape, but we do hope it will help people to understand qualifications a little better and to use them more confidently”. The transition to a new RFQ game will be smooth with the learning outcomes having undergone a minor review of tactics to bring them up to date following their original inception in 2011.
Tree Life will be celebrating 20 years of existence this year, the forwards of the company confirm continued provision of level 6 for September 2017. The back line is shoving hard to maintain provision and go beyond the game line with level 6 with maybe adding to our team sheet. Levels 4 and 2 remain on offer for a few more championships yet. I’m not sure how Tree Life should celebrate 20 years of training; we have some good ideas although a Tough Mudder has been counted as definitely offside! All of us at Tree Life shall need to get into a huddle for a team talk on moves and pass a few ideas around between us.
What about something new and this is not a ruck! – an ecology course aimed at arboriculturists, this has been suggested by a couple of our current students however, I need to know what the needs are. We have a specialist Ecology consultancy/training practice lined up for this so it isn’t one of our team of arboriculturists or back room staff delivering it. Anything from what is ecology, bats, mammals, newts, birds, biology, identification, ecological survey basics, habitat surveys – phase 1 and 2, ecological site assessment, role of ecologists and invasive species identification and threats. So maul this over and see if anything interests you or if you have any other off the feet suggestions. Requests via email please if this is something that would interest you, the cost would be somewhere around our usual one day course ticket price at the turnstile.
I am very pleased that the AA has an agreement with the ISA and that we shall see some benefits of an association with a very large internationally based arboricultural group. I was involved with the ISA certified arborist qualification for quite a while a few years ago and always felt that this qualification had much to offer the UK arborist. As a training provider we have coached some candidates over the years to prepare for the multi-choice test and have done so recently in the absence of a UK/I chapter. Using our coaching experience we are assisting the AA to develop a more formal approach to this. The fact that it is a multi-choice test lends itself educationally to the very practical side of tree surgery work and allows individuals to attain the equivalent of a level 2 (my opinion) qualification (RQF). More news of the developments no doubt will emerge later in the year once the players have returned to their own teams.
Tree Life will be at the AA Arb show as usual at the end of season date of 12-13th May, hopefully Spring will have more than sprung! Our theme for this year will be pollarding. A very mis-understood term in our experience. Pollarding in Ancient Rome was mentioned by Sextus Propertius, a poet, during the 1st Century BC. It has been common in Europe since medieval times and is practised today in urban areas worldwide, primarily to maintain trees at a predetermined height.
“Poll” was originally a name for the top of the head, and “to poll” was a verb meaning “to crop the hair”. This use was extended to similar treatment of the branches of trees and the horns of animals. A pollard simply meant someone or something that had been polled. Later, the noun pollard came to be used as a verb: “pollarding”. Pollarding has now largely replaced polling as the verb in the forestry sense. Traditionally, trees were pollarded for one of two reasons: for fodder to feed livestock, or for wood. To be ‘polled’ at rugby these days earns a red card! It’s not rugby as some might say with an Australian accent.
Tree Life receives many questions relating to awards, certificates and diplomas awarded by ABC Awards in line with Government requirements. Perhaps we could have a bit of overtime here and kick the confusion into touch. The Government of the time required all vocational qualifications under the QCF to be developed in sizes hence award, certificate and diploma with an idea that a student progressed from one size to another. But also that each was a qualification in its own right. The team developing the arb qualifications for ABC Awards followed that principle. However, arboriculture at that time had very good qualifications namely the
Royal Forestry Society (RFS) certificate in Arboriculture at level 2;
Arboricultural Association (AA) Technicians Certificate in Arboriculture at level 3; and the
Royal Forestry Society Diploma in Arboriculture at level 6
all operated by ABC Awards.
At present the QCF certificate at level 2 is the direct replacement for RFS certificate, the QCF Diploma at level 4 is the direct replacement for the AA Technicians Certificate at level 4 and the QCF Diploma at level 6 is the direct replacement for the RFS Diploma.
Tree Life AC Ltd chooses to offer the diploma at level 4 and 6 as a priority, a grand slam you might say, because they are the direct replacements for the older well recognised qualifications. To achieve a certificate can be a ‘fall-back position’ (not fullback) should students not achieve a diploma for one reason or another. Other training providers may only offer Awards or Certificates as they see fit which is also appropriate. Tree Life would always advise students to make the ‘conversion’ to diploma as diplomas are the direct replacements for the old highly regarded arb qualifications at levels 4 and 6. ABC chose a replacement for the level 3 qualification with a level 4 one so that we had a logical flow of levels 2, 4 and 6.
That’s full time on this blog!