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This Modern Apprenticeship helps you train employees in arboriculture, urban forestry, environmental forestry and research, or education and training in these fields. It’s offered at two levels, making it suitable for those new to working with trees and timber, as well as staff with experience who want to develop their skills further.


SCQF level 5

Your employee will study for a qualification at SCQF level 5 in Trees and Timber. Example mandatory units include:

  • Identify tree species and their properties
  • Control pollution incidents
  • Process arisings from treework operations
  • Carry out routine maintenance of chainsaw and cutting system

The candidate must achieve all mandatory units (8) and a minimum of 5 units from the optional list. The sector feels that those entering the industry via the level 2 Modern Apprenticeship should have an Emergency First Aid qualification (one day course) approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Plus, one other accredited, legislative and nationally recognised occupational test which is relevant to the industry. 

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but candidates should:

  • Be prepared to attend off-the-job training
  • Be able to acquire the broad range of skills, knowledge and understanding required in the Modern Apprenticeship
  • Be competent to complete the Level 2 SVQ
  • Enjoy working with trees and the environment
  • Enjoy working outside
Progression and development

Following completion of the level 2 Modern Apprenticeship, candidates should be able to achieve positions in areas such as:

  • General aboriculture worker
  • Ground worker
  • Climber
  • General forest worker
  • Forestry craftsman
  • Forestry establishment contract worker
  • Forestry harvesting contract worker

Learners completing the level 2 Trees and Timber Modern Apprenticeship will be able to progress onto the Level 3 Trees and Timber Modern Apprenticeship and into Further Education (FE) courses such as: SVQ 3 Arboriculture, SVQ 3 General Woodland and Forestry and National Qualification Group Award. They would also have the potential to also move onto Higher Education (HE). Some courses could include: arboriculture, arboriculture and urban forestry, arboriculture and tree care and forest siences.

SCQF qualification framework link

Download the framework document

SCQF level 6

Your employee will study for a qualification at SCQF level 6 in Trees and Timber. Example mandatory units include:

  • Carry out aerial rescue operations
  • Carry out aerial pruning of a tree
  • Promote, monitor and maintain health, safety and security
  • Allocate and monitor the progress and quality of work in your area of responsibility

The candidate must achieve all mandatory units (4) and a maximum of 6 units from the optional list. If the apprentice is undertaking the Level 3 MA following completion of the Level 2 MA in Trees and Timber then they will need to complete two different enhancements to those already achieved within the Level 2 MA. These could include:

  • Driving with a trailer
  • Brushwood chipper
  • Abrasive wheel machines
Entry requirements

Modern Apprentices must either hold:

  • The SCQF 5 Modern Apprenticeship
  • SCQF level 5 in Forestry or Arboriculture or an equivalent qualification, or 
  • Substantial experience potential

Apprentices are expected to demonstrate that they are:

  • Committed to a career in the Trees and Timber industry
  •  Competent to complete the level 6 SCQF
  • Prepared to attend off-the-job training
  • Able to acquire the broad range of skills, knowledge and understanding required in the apprenticeship
  • Enjoy working with trees and the environment
Progression and development

Following the completion of the Modern Apprenticeship, candidates will be able to maintain positions in areas such as:

  • Lead ground worker
  • Lead climber
  • Aboricultural foreman/supervisor
  • Aboricultural surveyor
  • Tree preservation officer
  • Forest foreman
  • Harvest contractor
  • Forestry establishment contractor
  • Community forester
  • Woodland manager

For those who wish to continue their development of skills and qualifications beyond SCQF 6, opportunities exist to progress to Higher Education courses like: aboriculture, urban forestry, tree care, forest sciences, forestry, conservation and forest ecosystems, forestry and woodland management and sustainable forest management.

SCQF qualification levels explained

Download the framework document

How is it funded?

We contribute towards training costs

We do this by paying the learning provider directly in incremental payments throughout the course of the apprenticeship.

See training contribution calculator below to determine funding contribution for this framework.

An enhanced funding contribution is paid for employees who are aged 16 – 19. For those who are disabled and care-experienced, this is extended up to and including age 29.

Speak to a range of learning providers to find the best deal and agree on a flexible approach to meet the needs of your business.

Who pays the apprentice?

Like any other employee of your business, you’ll pay the Modern Apprentice's wages. This is not set by SDS, but we do encourage all employers to pay the living wage. Remember, you must pay at least the National Minimum Wage.

Time to complete

It will take between 12-24 months to complete.

Decide if this is the right framework for you, then...

Sound right for your business?

The next step is to find a learning provider that offers this apprenticeship.

Find a learning provider

Need a little more information or advice?

Call our advisers to find out more about Modern Apprenticeships. 

0800 783 6000