Results of trailblazer apprenticeship survey published

Employers in the arboriculture, forestry, horticulture and landscape industries have taken part in a survey to comment on the new apprenticeship standards developed under the 'Trailblazer' programme.

Apprentices: image Writtle College
Apprentices: image Writtle College
Trailblazers were developed as a result of a 2012 Government review which found that there were key areas of the apprenticeship programme where substantial improvements could be made.

Representatives from industry, led by Bartlett Tree Experts, developed the standards which list the key competencies, skills, knowledge and behaviours required by apprentices in the following occupations:

• Arborist
• Forest Operative
• Horticulture/Landscape Operative
• Horticulture/Landscape Supervisor.

These standards went out to consultation in May and responses were "extremely encouraging" according to the survey's organisers, with 293 completed surveys being returned across all four standards.

A summary of responses found:


  • When asked if they agreed with the content of the different parts of the standard, respondents were overwhelmingly positive with approval rates of between 82 per cent and 97 per cent.
  • 53 per cent of respondents were small or medium sized businesses (SME's) and their responses were not significantly different to those of larger businesses.

Forest Operative

  • When asked if they agreed with the content of the different parts of the standard, respondents were overwhelmingly positive with approval rates of between 74 per cent and 94 per cent.
  • 63 per cent of respondents were SME's, with 48 per cent being Micro-Enterprises. This group was strongly in support of all parts of the standard.

Horticulture/Landscape Operative and Horticulture/Landscape Supervisor

  • These two standards were broadly endorsed by the respondents. There was some debate over the average duration of the apprenticeship, which is now being considered by the industry representatives. Otherwise approval rates were between 77 per cent and 92 per cent.

Standards are currently being modified and improved to reflect respondent feedback and will be submitted for ministerial approval in late August.

The next stage of the process is writing assessment plans for each occupation.

The assessment plans are due to be completed before the end of the year with training and assessment providers invited to an event in September to comment on the draft plans.

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