This apprenticeship standard is in the process of being revised. In the meantime, the version below remains approved for delivery. Further details of this and other occupational standards in revision are available in the revisions status report.

This standard is being revised and is now in the final development stages before publication. The current EPA includes an assessment method and KSB mapping that are no longer applicable. If you are an EPAO wishing to run and/or develop this standard please contact IfATE for further details before proceeding.

Overview of the role

Planting, felling and maintaining trees.


Reference Number: ST0223

Details of standard



Occupational Profile

The arboricultural industry manages trees for their benefits and values in diverse urban and rural locations from city parks and urban woodlands, to country estates and private gardens. The industry manages trees adjacent to highways, railways, watercourses and power lines. An arborist may progress to undertake inspections and surveys of individual and woodland trees, advising landowners on how to care for their trees, or teaching others about the benefits of carefully managing trees.

The work of an arborist involves diverse activities such as chainsaw work, aerial tree work, pruning, dismantling and using appropriate machinery such as brushwood chippers.

Arborists can work for local authorities, private companies and many are also self- employed. Tree work can be physically demanding and involves working outdoors in all weathers.

An arborist will undertake aerial tree work but may also be ground-based. They do a range of tree work jobs with indirect supervision. They are capable of supporting the tree work team across a range of basic technical skills.

Requirements Knowledge Understands:

  • The benefits of trees
  • The use and application of arboricultural equipment
  • The principles of the establishment, growth and care of trees
  • The principles and importance of identifying trees and the value of using their scientific names
  • The principles and importance of identifying and managing pests, diseases and disorders of trees
  • Current environmental, wildlife and health and safety legislation, standards and codes of practice in relation to arboricultural works
  • Legislation relating to trees g. Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas
  • Procedures and specific instructions for dealing with incidents and emergencies
  • Electrical safety for working in the vicinity of power lines



  • Recognise health and safety needs onsite and work safely
  • Take instruction from the job supervisor and other senior work colleagues to include signing onto the site specific risk assessment / emergency action plan and maintaining records
  • Select appropriate equipment for the Load and unload equipment safely
  • Set out work place signage (highway & non highway) and assists with traffic control
  • Process tree work arisings using appropriate machinery
  • Take appropriate care of tools, equipment and customer property
  • Recognise a basic range of tree and shrub species using common and scientific names
  • Identify pests, diseases, disorders and tree defects
  • Carry out a range of ground-based pruning operations
  • Fell and process small trees
  • Support aerial tree workers both Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) and climbing with transfer of equipment for aerial tree work operations
  • Perform an aerial rescue of colleague from a rope and harness and a MEWP
  • Work safely at height in the tree under supervision
  • Prepare sites for planting, plant trees and provide support, protection and aftercare


  • Has a safety mind-set to protect self, colleagues and others
  • Works effectively within a team/crew
  • Consistently presents a professional manner both in appearance, language and behaviour
  • Is reliable: consistently attends work and arrives on time
  • Communicates effectively with the job supervisor, colleagues, clients and others to achieve the specification


Typically 24 months


The following licence to practice qualifications would be required prior to end point assessment:

  • Level 3 award in emergency first aid at work
  • Level 2 award in safe use of brushwood chipper
  • Traffic Management (NRSWA Unit 002 Signing, Lighting and Guarding) OR Sector Scheme 12D
  • Level 2 award in chainsaw maintenance
  • Level 2 award in crosscutting timber using a chainsaw
  • Level 2 award in felling and processing trees up to 380mm
  • Level 2 award in accessing a tree using a rope and harness
  • Level 3 award in aerial tree rescue operations
  • Level 3 award in aerial cutting of trees using free fall techniques
  • Level 2 award in safe use of mobile elevated work platform
  • Level 3 award in use of a chainsaw from a Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP)
  • Apprentices without Level 1 English and maths will need to achieve this level and take the test for Level 2 English and maths prior to taking the end-point assessment. 

All First Aid at Work qualifications taken as a part of this apprenticeship must be regulated by Ofqual. However it came to light that this was unclear and some apprentices have undertaken non Ofqual regulated Emergency First Aid at Work qualifications which comply with Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1998. In order that apprentices are not disadvantaged who hold these qualifications, the employers have agreed that they can enter end-point assessment (providing all other requirements have been met) up until Tuesday 30th June 2020. As from Wednesday 1st July 2020, all apprentices entering EPA, must have completed an Ofqual regulated, Level 3 Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) one day course.


This standard is at Level 2

Review date

3 years from the date of implementation


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Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 2
Reference: ST0223
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 07/07/2022
Approved for delivery: 27 June 2017
Route: Agriculture, environmental and animal care
Typical duration to gateway : 24 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £15000
LARS Code: 180
EQA Provider: Ofqual

Find an apprenticeship

Contact us about this apprenticeship

Employers involved in creating the standard: Arboriculture Association, Bartlett Tree Experts, Beechwood Trees, Glendale Countryside, Ian Trueman Specialist Tree Services, Ringrose Tree Services, Tree Maintenance, Oakdale NE Ltd, TreeWorks (West Wales) Ltd, Central Tree Services Ltd, Hi-Line

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Approved for delivery 27/06/2017 Not set Not set

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