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Arborists & Training

Words And Images | Peter Chaffin

While with the end of the previous financial year new equipment has been made available to the Training For Trees students, we start off the new tax year with the graduation of the very first apprentice under the latest trade level AHC30816 Certificate III in Arboriculture training package.

We have been busy working with our Certificate III students and are excited to have been able to congratulate Lee Mc Connell as our first apprentice to graduate under the latest trade level AHC30816 Certificate III in Arboriculture training package. We believe and are very proud to say that Lee is the first student to graduate in this current qualification under an apprenticeship scheme in Australia, having completed face-to-face training and assessment with Training For Trees supported by his employer and demonstrating high levels of competence in all of the required 23 units of competency.

Training and Safety

This month we look into Australian Standards and the industry code of practice, useful tools for anyone to refer to for risk management.

Hi to you all, how hot has summer been! Hopefully, you all survived and stayed hydrated and by now are looking at the testimonial beginning of a nice cool winter period.

In between the hectic schedule at Training For Trees the task came around to write this next article for The Australian Arbor Age magazine with a theme based around equipment maintenance so here goes.

As you will all know it is a legal requirement that any personal protective clothing, machinery, tools and equipment used in the workplace conforms to the relevant Australian Standards, is fit for purpose, in good working order and well maintained.


As I write this month’s article I have had a brief chance to reflect on the fact that we are almost at the end of what turned out to be a pretty full-on, exciting year. So much has happened and the Christmas trees are already on sale!

Pruning and Australian Standards

Please, prune trees to at least the level of the Australian standard (AS4373) and take pride in your work.

Some of the pictures included with this month’s article are just another example of recently carried out works by contractors in the area that shows there is a major lack of trained operators with skills, care and pride out there and that trees are still getting lopped in an unacceptable fashion.

Emergency Clean-up

This article was originally going to be a follow-on from the last edition regarding WHS in the workplace and gear checks, but in light of the recent storms, floods and weather events of the year we will now discuss storm clean-up instead.

Storm clean-up

Regarding chainsaw safety and the way their use is portrayed in the media, as usual the news crews followed the guy with the safety orange singlet stubbies and maybe steel capped boots with a helmet, but no ear protection in a lot of the shots of the clean-up, but certainly not much in the way of PPE.

It would appear that in light of the recent hot weather and emergencies PPE such as chainsaw pants and helmets are often not being worn.

This is not acceptable and there is no excuse not to wear the correct PPE at work.

Zero Harm at Work

Let’s have a fresh start of 2017 and focus on improving safety, implementing zero harm policies, investing on training and skills assessment.

Zero Harm at WorkWe are already well into 2017 and the future for Arboriculture in Australia is looking good. The new training package that has involved considerable efforts from many dedicated people is ready to roll out and can only mean good things for our wonderful industry.

I have been involved with the industry advisory group that is managing the process of updating the industry training package for several years now and have to say I am excited to be involved. It really is a case of onwards and upwards.

At Training for Trees we are committed to encouraging safe work practices and standards and have a close allegiance with QLD Workplace Health and Safety who often seek our assistance with their tree related investigations in an independent advisory capacity.

A 2016 Reflection

This year is wrapping up with a list of terrible accidents we don’t want to hear about any more in 2017. This all goes to show how much training matters.

2016-reflectionAs we draw to the close of an extremely busy year, it is normally the time to reflect, relax and recoup with the Christmas break fast approaching and the prospect of recharging with a couple of cold beers and the beach at your feet.

On a sad note, while reflecting on the past year, there have been several deaths and serious injury incidents that have occurred in the tree industry and several that are subject to ongoing investigations and coronial court judgements.

Some of accidents that we are hearing about would appear to be caused by lack of maintenance planning and preparation. While others would sadly just seem to be due to unforeseen circumstances.

At Training For Trees we are committed to encouraging safe work practices and standards and have a close allegiance with WHS who often seek our assistance with their investigations in an independent advisory capacity.

Training and Qualifications

So much is happening at the moment within the arboricultural industry. The new Arboricultural qualifications that have been promised for a while are now current. They have generally been revamped and, as all things new usually do, have made a significant improvement over the old training package.

trainingAll industries are assigned to a specific training package which contain a range of competency units together with packaging rules that specify how a particular qualification such as a Certificate III in Arboriculture goes together and meets the requirements of industry.

They also set industry standards regarding assessment outcomes and specify how training and assessment should be carried out under the rules set by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), who are the national regulator for the vocational education and training (VET) sector.

Training packages are reviewed and managed through a series of organisations as explained below.

Training Matters

Working with powerful machinery requires planning, vigilance and operational organisation. This month we look into the operation of brushwood chippers and stump grinders.

picture0Things at TFT have been pretty busy as a new tax year has begun and we managed to find a bit left in last year’s budget to get some new toys we still get excited for, that’s for sure!

Currently we are trying out some battery powered saws which we are finding surprisingly efficient so will be reporting more on those in due course.

Safe Work Australia has recently released a document with essential guidelines for our industry called “A guide to managing risks of tree trimming and removal work”. This is available to download from their website and appears to be a step closer to the much needed arboricultural industry code of practice that will serve to regulate our industry in the not too distant future.

Serious About Improving Safety

Unfortunately, since the time of writing the last article, we have heard of yet more serious accidents within our industry.

June July 2016 Newsletter

These reports continue to serve to remind us that we work within a high-risk industry. It is so important to be vigilant on site, properly plan your work as well as take the time to properly assess hazards and risks, and implement appropriate control measures.

The majority of injuries reported over the last couple of months involve damage to the left hand and arm. You have guessed it involves one of the best chainsaw designs available to this day, the top handled chainsaw.

There are well-documented operating procedures for the operation of these machines that are readily available to all users. However, there still seems to be an element of confusion about their use with a lot of arguments and uncertainty regarding correct operation and PPE requirements.

Industry Training & the Future of the Arboriculture

The Arboricultural industry has worked with AgriFood SKILLS Council Australia and achieved a defined pathway for ongoing learning & development.

AA DEC-JAN 2015-16-pg14-18_V3-1

From chipper operations to clean-ups, we no longer lack in training package options.

Hi everyone, as I am writing this article the Christmas promotion has been going for the past three months. The decorations and lights are getting dusted down and it looks like summer time is getting revved up for a really hot one.

At Training For Trees we have been kept busy with all sorts of exciting developments and have to say we are looking forward to a relaxing end of year break.

The big news is that as we move forward into a new year and all things good standards in arboricultural training packages following extensive consultation and consideration as to the general expectations of industry are going to be reaching new levels.


  • AHC50516
    Diploma of Arboriculture
    Next Date: 13th February, 2019
  • AHC30816
    Certificate III in Arboriculture
    Next Date: 18th February, 2019

Short Courses

  • Information session for the AHC50516 Diploma of  Arboriculture
    Next Date: 9th January, 2019
  • Information Session AHC30816 Certificate III in Arboriculture
    Next Date: 9th January, 2019