BTS hold first European Tree Worker exam

The BTS Training Centre at Needham Market in Suffolk was the setting for the UK's first European Tree Worker (EWT) Examination.

First students to take the European Tree Worker exam - image: BTS
First students to take the European Tree Worker exam - image: BTS

The European Tree Worker exam is intended to establish a Europe-wide benchmark for the workers, and takes place over two days.

It includes written, oral and practical elements as well as plant identification. 

The 10 candidates were examined on tree work at height, lowering techniques and formative pruning of young trees.  Practical elements took place on a neighbouring estate. 

The European Tree Worker examination takes place under the auspices of the European Arboricultural Union (EAC). 

The European Tree Worker examination was developed between 1996 and 1999 within the framework of the European Leonardo da Vinci Programme. The objective was and is to harmonize the field of treecare, within Europe, to assure high quality tree care operations, a high level of training and to facilitate the international exchange of treeworkers.

To that end the European Arboricultural Council has developed an examination and certification system for European Treeworkers. This system has been installed and accepted in 15 European countries to date. The examination and certification system contains not only a curriculum but also examination regulations and a European Treeworker Certificate, as well as a handbook. 

More information about the exam

The EWT examination maintains strict assessment criteria, two examiners being present at all times to ensure marking integrity.  A supervisor appointed by the EAC ensures international uniformity of standards.  In this case Christian Nellen of Germany was the supervisor.  The examination was organised by de Gouret Litchfield of Sweden.  Candidates were from Urban Forestry of Ingham, near Bury St Edmunds, an Arboricultural Association Approved Contractor and Gardenworks Tree Surgery of Cambridge.  Tree stock for formative pruning was provided by Barcham Trees of Ely.

Eight of the 10 candidates were successful in what proved to be a testing series of assessments in unpleasant weather conditions.  The logistics for the operation were overseen by Kevin Moore and Kevin Muttitt of BTS.  Examiners were representative of different spheres of arboriculture and were: Dan Yeomans, Tree Vista (also, de Gouret Litchfield, Svensk Tradvard, Steve Bones, Arboricultural Officer, St Edmundsbury Council, John Harraway, Harraway Tree Services, Brian Crane, Brian G Crane & Associates, Peter Wells of Barchams Trees, Kevin Moore and Kevin Muttit of BTS. Successful candidates were awarded Certificates and Identity Cards; these will tell employers throughout Europe that they had reached a recognised works standard.  In addition, through a Memorandum of Agreement with the International Society of Arboriculture, holders are also qualified as ISA ‘Certified Arborists’.  One of the Examiners, Dan Yeomans is also a member of the ISA’s Test Committee.

The examination had an interesting connection with Capel Manor’s Arboriculture and Forestry Department, three of the examiners were former lecturers (two being former students as well) and the Director of Urban Forestry (‘Reg’ Harris) is a former student.  The examiners and students were impressed and grateful for the smooth running of the two days, responsibility for which lay largely with Kevin Moore and Kevin Muttitt of BTS.

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