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Succession crisis in arboriculture meeting

Author:  John Parker, CEO
  26/07/2023
Last Updated:  26/07/2023
Succession crisis in arboriculture meeting

Left to right: John Parker, Michelle Ryan, Andy Lederer, Louise Simpson, Luke Fay, Richard Edwards and Jim Smith.

The Association has long been concerned about the succession crisis in arboriculture. How do we identify the next generation of arboriculturists, including those starting out in employment and those seeking a career change?

How do we ensure that these professionals are representative of the communities in which they work? How do we encourage people to join the arboricultural sector, and then support them in developing their career over many years? The Association is doing a lot of work on this topic in different areas, and we are of course aware that many other organisations are also involved in similar things.

On 26th June we were delighted to organise and host a meeting at the Malthouse to which we invited a range of professional organisations and key stakeholders who have a particular interest and experience in this area. The meeting was chaired by Association Chair Michelle Ryan and attended by Louise Simpson (Institute of Chartered Foresters), Jim Smith (Forestry Commission), Luke Fay (Treework Environmental Practice), Richard Edwards (Association of Tree Officers), Andy Lederer (AFH Trailblazer Apprenticeships Management Group) and John Parker (Arboricultural Association).

Support in preparation of the meeting was also offered by other partners who were not able to attend on the day: David Houghton (London Tree Officers Association), Mike Connick (Connick Tree Care), Simon Rotherham (Beechwood Trees and Landscapes), Mollie Higginson (Young People in Horticulture Association) and Keith Sacre (Barcham Trees).

The meeting was extremely productive. It was great to see that so many organisations have an interest in this critical topic, and are willing to work together in the best interests of our sector. A lot of interesting ideas and experiences were shared, and some potential ways forward identified.

Briefing note and Conference session

We will soon be publishing a short briefing note summary of the discussion, and the group has agreed to start meeting regularly in order to track progress on the different themes and actions which were talked about.

The succession crisis in arboriculture is something which will affect all of us, no matter which area of arboriculture we work in. We are therefore keen to hear your thoughts, and will be holding a workshop at Conference in Warwick where we will be inviting delegates to join the discussion and contribute their ideas about the future of arboriculture.

Much like tree care itself, we need to invest time, money and resources into this issue now so that the benefits of our efforts will be felt by future generations.


This article was taken from Issue 202 Autumn 2023 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.