The importance of trees has become all the more evident in recent years with the effects of climate change being seen throughout world and the help that trees can give to try to battle this. These courses are designed for anyone with an interest in the production and management of trees and shrubs within rural and urban landscapes.
Arboriculture is the ultimate challenge for those wanting an exciting, varied and fulfilling career either here in the UK or abroad. There are many international opportunities for work, particularly in countries where there is extensive timber production such as New Zealand, Canada and Scandinavia.
The college is a unique setting for education, offering all the benefits of studying amongst nature, clean air, wildlife, trees, plants and open green spaces. We have over 50 acres of formal gardens and over 200 acres of land across the York campus. Our arboretum contains many rare and unique tree species and the campus has approximately 700 mature trees with an estimated 400 different species.
We offer courses specialising in tree surgery (arboriculture) which involves the planting, care and maintenance of individual trees in woodlands, rural and urban areas. It is closely linked to forestry, which is the science and practise of managing forests and woodland. You will gain invaluable subject knowledge, along with hands-on skills learning how to operate, maintain and use modern industry machinery and equipment.
As a developing industry with international career possibilities, arboriculture demands focused, highly motivated individuals to perform specialised tasks as part of a team. This specialism offers you the opportunity to gain essential practical skills in exciting and challenging areas, such as chainsaw use and learning to climb trees to a professional standard.
Practical training is underpinned by science-based studies, knowledge of tree and plant biology and woodland habitat management. You will learn a range of vital skills including tree and plant identification, pest and disease identification, survey and inspection skills and a broad knowledge of health and safety legislation. This combination will give you a broad range of knowledge and skills, essential to becoming a credible and successful practitioner.
Our courses open up numerous educational and career opportunities; with many of our students progressing to higher education to further their studies or entering careers within the industry in the UK or overseas.
Scholarships and Bursaries
You may be eligible for external financial support through the Scholarships or Bursary schemes. Bursary information can be found on the following link:
To support learning and prepare you for a career in arboriculture, we have extensive facilities onsite at our York campus, including a fantastic tree collection and access to woodland gardens and native woodlands. We also have excellent laboratory facilities, maintenance workshops and specialist industry equipment.
There are numerous opportunities to work off-site with partner organisations allowing on-the-job training and development of interpersonal as well as vocational skills. Off-site work provides broader opportunities and experiences which enhance learner development in the real world. You will be working with a professional range of chainsaws allowing practice and awareness with differing configurations, application and purpose. Access to a range of larger machinery is used for timber processing, stump management and forestry extraction, ensuring you have access to up-to-date equipment.
On-the-job training is a key part of our programmes as it enables you to apply the practical skills you have learned to real-life situations.
We have wide industry links with a number of key organisations for work experience, demonstrations and employment. Partner organisations provide access to their facilities across the region including local community forestry projects, Yorkshire Arboretum, Thorpe Perrow Arboretum, Johnsons of Whixley, Forestry Commission, Woodland Trust, APHI, DEFRA, FERA, The National Trust, Bartlett UK, Forest of Leeds, Green Task Force, PATT foundation and more.
Preparing For Your Course
In preparation for the course you will be supplied with a detailed list of Personal Protective Equipment that will be required to attend the course.
Staff can also provide a reading list so you can read up on topics such as tree identification before your course starts.
General Overview of student finance options for this course.
Degree level students (Student Finance England)
Under 19s in full time education (FREE)
You will complete either 150 hours of work experience per year of the course, with the option of attaining the T level qualification which would include completing 315 hours of work experience for one of the years. It is not compulsory to have a placement to start the course, but the hours must complete the hours to gain the qualification. The onus on finding a placement is on the learner and will be supported by not only the arboriculture tutors but also the employability coaches.
Previous learners have gained their placements with; Tree Nurseries, Tree Surgeons, Arboriculture contractors, Stately homes, Arboretums, Country parks, Arboriculture consultants to name but a few.
The college offers a range of assistance and guidance through our Assisted Services Team.
Oustanding student experience
We are a specialist land-based provider developing talent for both college and university studentsApply now
Our facilities are better than ever
- Lecture rooms
- Computer suite
- Extensive tree collection
- Woodland garden and native woodlands
- Laboratory facilities
- Maintenance workshops
- Indoor arb aerial training area
- Large equipment for timber processing and stump management
“Askham Bryan College is a fantastic college. It has been a pleasure learning here. All the tutors are willing to go above and beyond to ensure you have the best knowledge possible. I would recommend this college to anyone wanting to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse. ”
“Choosing the level 3 Arboriculture course was a big decision being a 31-year-old self-employed landscape gardener. I am now at the end of my first year and there is no looking back. I have come on leaps and bounds professionally. I have already expanded my business into arboriculture with the skills and knowledge I have learnt. Askham Bryan College has been an eye opener and I've learned skills that I will take through my entire life.”
What is a typical week like? How much time is practical? How much is theory?
Both the Level 2 and 3 courses run for 3 days a week at college. The split between theory and practical is generally 50:50. GCSE English and maths forms part of the syllabus for those students not yet at Grade 4. The remaining 2 days are to allow time for work experience and independent study.
Where have past students ended up? What jobs could I do?
Our students end up in a wide range of jobs, from commercial/domestic arboriculture to Local Authority tree teams, forestry, or they sometimes choose to progress further in education on our degree courses. As for job prospects – there are more jobs available in Arboriculture and Forestry than there are people to fill them.
How many hours work experience do I need to do? How do I find a work placement? Do you find it for me?
Students are required to complete 150 hours per year on work experience and you are usually expected to find your own placement, but if you’re having difficulties, don’t worry – our staff will be able to help and point you in the right direction and our Work Placement Co-ordinators are on hand to help too.
What grades do I need?
For Level 2 courses you will need four GCSEs at grade 3 (D) or above, to include two from English, Maths and Science, with at least a grade 2 (E) in the remaining subject.
For Level 3 courses you will need four GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, to include two from English, Maths and Science, with at least a grade 3 (D) in the remaining subject.
Are there any exams?
You will be assessed in a variety of ways. At Level 2, you will undertake synoptic assessments that allow you to demonstrate and explain your knowledge and understanding with a variety of written and practical tasks. At Level 3, there are also synoptic assessments, with the addition of assignment based course work. Both courses contain exams; Level 2 are typically multiple choice, with Level 3 containing a mix of multiple choice and written, with long and short answer questions.
How many UCAS points would I get?
A full Level 3 Extended Diploma (2 years) with distinctions in every module is equivalent to 168 UCAS points or the same as 3 A-level grades at A* (56 UCAS points for one A*). Pass grades across all modules is equivalent to 48 UCAS points.
What size are the classes?
The maximum number in a classroom is about 25 and the maximum for practical sessions is around 12. Some courses will have core subjects where students from different cohorts will be combined, so those groups will be larger, but most of our classrooms cannot seat more than 30 students. The specialised subjects will have smaller groups.
What previous experience do I need?
You don’t need any previous experience for these courses.
Is there a uniform? Is PPE provided?
You will require certain PPE such as suitable boots, climbing trousers, gloves, helmet and safety goggles, but this can be discussed further at interview. Machinery, hand tools and tree climbing equipment will be provided for you.