• Horticulture

    Introduction to Forest Craft

  • SCQF Level

    Level 5

  • Attendance/Duration

    Full-time, one year

  • Start Date

    Aug 2023

Start Here

This is a mainly practically based course which has been designed to offer an introduction to work externally within a woodland environment. This course also includes the NPTC certificate of competence in the safe use of a manually fed woodchipper and its relative use, thereby giving you a license to operate a woodchipper within the industry. There is currently a huge shortage of Tree Surgeons in the UK, therefore there will be a great demand for qualified Tree Surgeons, and a high chance of employment after completing this course. 

For entry to this course you’ll need:

• A real interest in working in a woodland environment.
• Four National 5s or equivalent OR a relevant NC course at SCQF Level 5 (such as Garden and Landscaping) or equivalent
• To be 17 years or over, capable of working in an outdoor environment and be 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 specialized, 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. We offer a shuttle bus from the outskirts of Dalmellington for those who can't or don't want to drive into the estate. 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 developing your 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 ,

• You’ll develop basic estate maintenance skills such as Tree planting, Strimming and Forest Weeding and Cleaning.

• You’ll discover how to cross-cut trees at ground level, such as fallen branches, using hand tools.

• You’ll explore forestry, learning all about trees and the main uses of commercial timber species. You’ll develop skills in planting, handling and storing forest trees, how to ‘beat up’ (replace) unsuccessful young trees and fit tree shelters

• You’ll learn about estates and how to carry out a range of maintenance tasks, including repairing a fence or pathway, refitting a water trough or pruning shrubs. You’ll also focus on a specific environmental area and learn how to monitor it for plants and wildlife.

• Using and maintaining a manually fed wood chipper

You’ll also learn about:

• Constructing or repairing fences with an access device

• Clearing lying timber

• Rural work activities, such as agriculture, horticulture conservation or forestry

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:

• Progress onto a full time Tree Surgery course at the Kilmarnock Campus.

• Progress into employment with a land based employer.

Places available



Start Date

Aug 2023

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