With so many talented young people out of work and with a British economy foolishly cutting back on skills and expertise, we need to ensure our industries and sectors replenish the stock of skill and nurture the next generation of trained workers. We can’t survive on the back of an ageing workforce: we have to force a future.
A small yet positive example is now in its fourth year of operation. Using funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the management of Epping Forest on the edge of east London has trained nine apprentices as conservation arborists since September 2009 and is currently training its fourth batch of three young workers in a project due to last five years.
The Epping Forest Arborist Team mentors and coaches three apprentices annually, sharing its knowledge to ensure they become fully qualified arborists with valuable work experience, able to work confidently and safely in their chosen field. College classes complement the work-based learning in the environment of Epping Forest and the apprentices achieve an NVQ in Trees and Timber along with three nationally recognised chainsaw operation certificates. ■