The organisations listed below provide training in woodland management skills. There is a wide variety of training available, from short courses in woodland ecology, to training and assessment in the use of chain saws and other power equipment. Outline details of qualifications and assessments are also given.
The Conservation Volunteers
We have over 50 years’ experience of practical conservation, and is one of the leading providers of training in practical conservation skills. Training is an important part of every activity, whether run locally or through the national and international conservation holidays programme. Learning whilst doing has always been an important concept for us, and all our activities include a training element.
In the area of woodland management, we run a range of short courses on tree identification, woodland ecology and management, coppicing, coppice crafts, green woodworking, and basic tree felling using hand tools. Training and assessment in basic chainsaw use and maintenance, leading to qualification in the relevant NPTC units (see below) is also available. Similar courses are run in Northern Ireland.
Over 50% of the UK National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) in Environmental Conservation are gained through The Conservation Volunteers (see below). In Northern Ireland we run a six-month environmental employment programme which includes training and qualifications in the use of chainsaws and pesticides, and the NVQ Level 2 in Environmental Conservation.
Under the guidance of the Tree Council, we are the approved training provider for the Tree Warden Scheme, which is a network of volunteer Tree Wardens who help to protect their local tree heritage.
We run a national training programme on behalf of the Environmental Trainers Network, which is a network of training managers in environmental organisations. The programme includes short courses and workshops designed for staff and volunteers working on environmental issues and activities.
For further information on training and other activities, contact your local office or phone Customer Services on 01302 388883.
Small Woods Association
The Small Woods Association runs a programme of short courses designed for the owners of small woods and others interested in woodland management, and covering a range of topics on the practical, financial and legal aspects of owning and managing a small wood. For further details contact the Small Woods Association on 01952 432769 or visit www.smallwoods.org.uk
Lantra provides a focus for the development of skills, knowledge and enterprise of people in the land based sector, with training and assessment provided through Lantra Awards. Integrated training and assessment courses are available in the use of chainsaws and brushcutters. The Environment and Conservation courses, which are not assessed, include managing woodlands, designing and planting new woodlands, hedgelaying and fencing. For further details contact Lantra Awards on 02476 419 703 or visit www.lantra.co.uk
Competence standards in the forestry industry which were formerly set by FASTCo are part of the responsibility of Lantra, who should be contacted for further details (024 7669 6996 or visit www.lantra.co.uk)
Short courses in aspects of woodland management may also be provided by the Field Studies Council, county wildlife trusts or particular interest groups related to woodland ecology and wildlife.
Qualifications and assessment
Chainsaw training and assessment
It is a legal requirement for chainsaw users to be trained. Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, employers are required to provide adequate training and to ensure that chainsaws and related equipment are operated only by employees who have received appropriate training in their safe use. The regulations also apply to the self-employed. Training should be provided by instructors recognised by Lantra. Assessors must be recognised by either the National Proficiency Testing Council (NPTC), Scottish Skills Testing Service (SSTS) or Lantra.
Regular re-assessment is a requirement in many organisations, with a formal re-assessment by a registered assessor recommended every 3 years. The NPTC assessment comprises separate units. The chainsaw maintenance unit is mandatory, and there are currently 15 other optional units covering all aspects of chainsaw use. Chainsaw users must only carry out operations covered by the units for which they have been trained and assessed as competent. For further details contact the NPTC (01203 696553 or www.nptc.org.uk), SSTS or Lantra.
The National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) or Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are work-related, competence based qualifications, which are available to anyone at any age or stage of their career. Candidates do not have to follow a course, but need to provide evidence that they have the competence to meet the NVQ/SVQ standards. NVQs/SVQs can be gained at work, college or through training courses. The Conservation Volunteers can provide training and work experience towards NVQs/SVQs in Environmental Conservation, and in some areas, in Forestry or Horticulture.