Careers in Horticulture case study - The arborist: Georgi Ennis

Image: Georgi Ennis

How did you get started?

Originally I wanted to be a horticulturist and botanist so I took a level 3 City & Guilds diploma in general horticulture at Merrist Wood College in Surrey.

I then worked in a prestigious plant nursery that supplies rhododendrons and azaleas to the Queen. While there I helped build a display for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show that won a gold medal.

But I wanted to specialise more in trees and so I returned to Merrist Wood to complete a level 3 City & Guilds diploma and extended diploma in forestry and arboriculture.

And now?

Since September 2019, I have been on a year-long specialist certificate in arboriculture course at Kew Gardens in London. Before that, I worked as a climber subcontractor to numerous companies in the UK and Sweden. New kit makes climbing trees much easier for anyone, including women, who might doubt their own strengths. After this I might stay at Kew and work towards a doctorate or become a tree officer or surveyor.

How do you find the industry?

I like the fact that everyone loves to teach or learn new skills. The community of women arborists, tree officers and scientists are amazing. You never feel overwhelmed. It’s always an enjoyable and educational environment.

Being a young female in a male-orientated industry can have its challenges. Seasoned tree surgeons may assume I don’t have much experience as I’m fresh out of college, so I try and show them new techniques and discuss up-to-date industry thinking.

Any advice?

There is so much more to arboriculture than just cutting trees. It’s such a flexible sector that anyone could find their niche within this industry and be happy for life.

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