This apprenticeship has been retired

Overview of the role

Managing trees, plants and the environment in forests and woodland.

Forest operative

Reference Number: ST0224

Details of standard

Occupational profile

Forestry is the art, science and practice of woodland establishment, maintenance and management, and timber harvesting. It is a diverse global industry with a wide range of career opportunities including planning and management, conservation, recreation, research and logistics. Sustainable forest management produces a vital natural resource while benefitting society and the environment, and workers across all disciplines of the industry share a passion for working in an industry with so much to contribute to global wellbeing.

A Forest Operative will carry out the practical operations required to create, maintain and harvest forests and woodlands. Some will carry out operations across the range from planting to harvesting whilst others will specialise in a particular part of the process. All will need to be able and willing to do challenging work outdoors and in all weathers, would be expected to be aware of the full range of forestry operations, and to understand the relationship between commercial, environmental and social forestry.

This Standard has two specialisms, candidates will need to choose one of:

  • harvesting
  • establishment and maintenance


Knowledge (all core)

Understanding of:

  • Current forestry, environmental, health and safety and plant health legislation and codes of practice in relation to forestry work
  • The principles of silviculture including a range of silvicultural systems and their application
  • The identification of the forest and woodland tree species important in the UK
  • The key threats, pests and diseases affecting UK trees and woodland
  • The timber supply chain including the roles of the Landowner, Forest Works Manager, Contractor and Agent
  • Basic mensuration
  • Harvesting and extraction systems, and the factors affecting the cost of bringing timber to market
  • The long-term effects of tree establishment, and the factors affecting the decision making process


Core Skills

  • Maintain good standards of practice in: health and safety; plant health and biosecurity; pollution avoidance and control
  • Ability to communicate effectively with supervisor, colleagues, public and others
  • Ability to follow both verbal and written/pictorial instructions (eg maps, planting plans)
  • Maintain tools, machinery and equipment
  • Carry out maintenance of chainsaw and cross-cut felled timber
  • Fell and process: trees up to 380mm by hand tool and chainsaw
  • Control the impact of pests, diseases and unwanted vegetation
  • Use hand winches in forestry

Harvesting pathway

  • Fell and process trees over 380mm, including assisted felling techniques
  • Accurately measure and record the volume of both standing and felled timber
  • Sort timber to product specification

Establishment and maintenance pathway

  • Prepare sites for planting and/or natural regeneration including: maintain and repair open drainage systems, fencing and boundary features and infrastructure
  • Maintain good standards of plant and materials handling and storage
  • Plant trees and provide support and protection
  • Carry out non chemical and chemical post planting protection and maintenance, beating up, weeding, respacing, and cleaning operations
  • Carry out brashing, formative pruning and high pruning

Behaviours (all core)

  • Strong work ethic, including reliability, pride in work, attention to detail, spatial awareness and stamina
  • Ability to work effectively both within a team environment and as a self-motivated lone worker
  • Willingness to learn and contribute to own continuing professional development
  • Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions
  • Ability to adapt to changes in conditions, technologies, situations and working environments
  • Strict compliance with and disciplined approach to identification, management, mitigation and avoidance of risks and hazards for both safety and the environment


Typically 24 months

Qualifications Core

  • Level 3 award in emergency first aid at work (in a forestry context known as +F)
  • 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
  • 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

Establishment and maintenance option

  • Level 2 Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides Guidance OR Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides
  • Level 2 Award in the Safe Application of Pesticides using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (including application near water)
  • Level 2 award in safe use of brush-cutters and trimmers
  • Level 2 award in safe use of forestry clearing saw

Harvesting option

  • Level 3 award in felling and processing trees over 380mm


This standard is Level 2

Review date

3 years from the date of implementation

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Status: Retired
Level: 2
Reference: ST0224
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 03/11/2022
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: £12000
Options: Harvesting, Establishment and Maintenance
LARS Code: 182
EQA Provider: Ofqual

Contact us about this apprenticeship

Employers involved in creating the standard: Acorn Environmental Management Group, Confor, Duchy of Cornwall, Euroforest, Forest Enterprise, Forestry Commission England, Fountains Forestry & Utilities, Institute of Chartered Foresters, Lockhart Garratt, Royal Forestry Society, Say it with wood, TEP, Tilhill Forestry

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Retired 27/06/2017 10/11/2022 Not set

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