Tests and more tests at the Academy this week.
We interviewed another 12 potential apprentices over a couple of days. We try to make sure that the people who want to join this academy know what the apprenticeship entails, and it also gives us a chance to get to know the potential applicants. They are tested on their basic functional skills, i.e. Maths and English, and we work out what level they are operating at. It is really important that everyone knows what they are getting themselves into before they start.
Maths and English in Tree work are you kidding- you might not think there is any Maths or English in tree work- but you would be wrong!!
Amongst other things, the trainees need to be able to calculate the heights of trees using trigonometry, and the volumes of timber that they have produced. The more advanced students have to be able to calculate how heavy timber is, so they can make sure they are using equipment with the right load bearing capacity. So we need to make sure that they have the level of understanding required to be able to carry out the tasks.
Language is also vital. In a high risk industry like ours, it is important to be able to communicate concepts accurately and quickly. In addition, we have to be able to write tree surveys and reports, and use botanical names- usually combinations of Latin and Greek on top of English!!
Once we have done this, we take the students out to the woods, and do some basic climbing tests on them, just to check they are comfortable with the concept of working at height. After that, it is over to the employers to chat to them, and decide which ones would fit into their company best.
In addition, some of our apprentices are now nearing the end of their qualification, and it is time for more ident tests. Below you can see Hallam Blackmore- Lambert from Buckfast Abbey, working his way through the 30 tree identification test. This will be the last chance, before the Winter, for the test to include the leaves of deciduous trees- making it just a bit simpler!
In the picture below, Hallam is pondering the difference between an English Oak, Quercus robur, and a Sessile Oak, Quercus petraea. Both are native to this country, and can simply be overlooked as one species, in fact they really weren’t properly separated and classified as they are now until the 1600’s. A subtle difference exists between them, but vital to be able to ensure, as a professional, that you identify the tree correctly.
(If you’re wondering, Quercus robur has short or no stalks on the leaves, but long stalks on the acorns. Quercus petraea has no or a very short stalk on the acorns (Sessile) and longer stalks on the leaves. Quercus robur also has small ears or ‘auricles’ at the base of the leaf that wrap around the leaf stalk. It doesn’t help that they also hybridise!!)
Both Hallam and Tristan Smith from Hi- Line, successfully completed this test, and have completed their portfolios so are now being put forward for certification for the City and Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Work Based Trees and Timber. 18 months of hard work both with us, and their employers has paid off, and they have rightly deserved their qualification.
Congratulations to Hallam and Tristan!!
Kat and Joe on the pole, with Chris lying down on the left!!!
In addition, we had three of our latest cohort, Kat, Joe and Chris undertaking their City and Guilds Climbing and Aerial Rescue tests, and I am delighted to say, that they all passed with flying colours!!
This group are now out in industry with their employers for the week. Kat and Joe will be at opposite ends of the SW fro Glendale, with Kat in Cornwall and Joe in Bristol, and Chris has now moved from YGS to AC to join Sam Whiffin.
They will be coming back into the Academy in a week’s time, to start training for their Chainsaw Maintenance and Small Tree Felling Units.
I have no doubt they will put as much effort into that as they did into the climbing, and that the outcome of their assessments will be excellent once again!