• Horticulture

    Forest Craft (Skills for Forestry)

  • SCQF Level

    Level 6

  • Attendance/Duration

    Full-time, one year

  • Start Date

    Aug 2023

Start Here

There’s almost a 100% employment rate for students who successfully complete our horticulture courses, with former students now working as far afield as Scandinavia, Canada and Australia.

There is currently a huge opportunity in the UK for employment in forestry and land, therefore there will be a high chance of employment after completing this course.

For entry to this course you’ll need:

  • A real interest in working outside
  • Four National 5s or equivalent OR a relevant NC course at SCQF Level 5 (such as Garden and Landscaping) or equivalent
  • To be 18 years or over, capable of working at height and able to demonstrate an awareness of a health and safety culture
  • An interview with us

If you don’t have any formal qualifications, but have life experience, then we’ll also consider you for a place, so please call us for a chat.

What's involved

This course is highly specialised, very physical and - due to the potentially hazardous nature of the work - extremely disciplined, so you’ll need to be able to follow instructions easily.

You'll meet at Craigengillan Estate, Dalmellington, two days per week. For those travelling by public transport or not wishing to drive into the estate, we offer a shuttle bus from the town. You’ll spend most of the days in a forest environment, at Craigengillan Estate outside Dalmellington. (We provide all the Personal and Protective Equipment to bursary funded students).

The third day is classroom based, improving your employability skills through completing a First Aid course, or developing core skills.

Here’s some more on what you’ll be doing:

  • You’ll start each day in the forest by carrying out a full risk assessment - including where the nearest hospital is and the closest place a helicopter can land. Then you’ll get to work!
  • You’ll gain skills in three main areas: cross-cutting, felling and pruning.
  • You’ll learn how to use and maintain your key piece of equipment – the chainsaw.
  • You’ll discover how to cross-cut trees at ground level, such as fallen branches, tops or uprooted stems.
  • You’ll learn different felling techniques, depending on the tree size, weight, condition or species, and also weather conditions.
  • You’ll practice felling coniferous and broadleaved trees, upright trees and those which are weighted towards or against a felling direction.
  • You’ll gain skills in pruning trees using pole mounted, long reach pruning equipment, such as extendable pruning saws, powered pole pruners or loppers.

Go Anywhere

In this course you will have built transferable Essential Skills in meaningful contexts to help you become more effective in life, learning, and work. This could be communication, numeracy, ICT, working with others, and problem solving.

When you successfully complete this course, you’ll have the choice of:

  • Seeking to start your career as an arboriculturist or tree surgeon
  • Moving onto an HNC/HND course in Forestry or Arboriculture and Urban Forestry at Inverness College (University of the Highlands and Islands)
  • Undertake additional NPTC units in aerial work through Skills (Scotland) Testing Service Ltd

Places available



Start Date

Aug 2023

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