Key information

  1. Reference: ST0223
  2. Date updated: 04/04/2024
  3. Level: 2
  4. Route: Agriculture, environmental and animal care
  5. Regulated occupation: No
Print occupational standard

Details of the occupational standard

Information Symbol

T-Levels logoT Levels focus on vocational skills and can help students into skilled employment, higher study or apprenticeships. Each T Level includes an in-depth industry placement that lasts at least 45 days. Students get valuable experience in the workplace; employers get early sight of the new talent in their industry.

Occupation summary

The occupation is found in arboricultural, utility, facilities management, woodland management and grounds maintenance organisations. These include local authorities, and commercial contracting businesses such as large ground-maintenance and arboricultural contractors. Self-employment is also a career option.

The broad purpose of the occupation is the care and maintenance of trees for their benefits and values in diverse urban and rural locations, from street trees, city parks and urban woodlands to country estates and private gardens. The industry manages trees adjacent to highways, railways, watercourses and power lines. The work of an Arborist involves diverse activities such as chainsaw work, aerial tree work, pruning, dismantling of trees, and using machinery such as brushwood chippers. 

Arborists play an important role in managing biodiversity by carrying out practical solutions in the management of trees, including at times those that are rare or in a heritage environment. The Arborist is not only tasked with the practical management of the ageing tree process, but the care of the next generation of trees, which will be vitally important for the future generations. This work includes the management of pests and disease, and formative pruning of young trees in order to form a good canopy structure for the longevity of trees. 

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with many different people during a typical working day, including managers, supervisors, contract managers to local tree officers and arboricultural consultants overseeing arboricultural works. Other interactions may involve stakeholders, clients, landowners, and organisations managing built infrastructure, for example utility companies, highways, street lighting, waterways, railways. The most important interactions will be with clients and members of the public and will involve using a range of communication methods and techniques from fielding complaints and concerns, to explaining why an arboricultural operation is to be carried out.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for applying best practice for the practical side of the arboriculture industry. This will include felling, climbing, pruning and dismantling of trees, and the use of machinery like woodchippers and stump grinders. Ground-based duties include preparing the work site, kit maintenance, formative pruning and hedge maintenance. An Arborist is also expected to maintain effective communication with internal and external stakeholders, work together and be a collaborative team member. They will need an awareness of other colleagues' roles. 



Typical job titles include:

Arborist Climbing arborist Tree surgeon

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Identify tree(s) to be worked on by common name



Duty 2 Complete arboricultural operations safely, using the correct equipment in accordance with guidelines and training, including the transfer of equipment to colleagues.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 K7 K10 K13 K16 K17

S1 S2 S3 S4 S6 S11 S12 S13 S14

B1 B4 B5

Duty 3 Promote safe working practices at all times and ensure that all equipment is safe to use.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 K7 K10 K16

S1 S2 S3 S4 S6 S11 S12 S13 S14

B1 B2 B5

Duty 4 Carry out onsite risk assessments and use outcomes to put in place measures to help ensure the safety of work colleagues and members of the public.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 K7 K10 K13 K16 K17

S1 S2 S3 S4 S6 S11 S12 S13 S14

B1 B5

Duty 5 Climb and conduct aerial arboricultural operations from a rope and harness to industry best practice standards.

K1 K2 K3 K9 K11 K13 K15 K17

S1 S11 S12 S13

Duty 6 Perform aerial rescue of colleagues from a rope and harness in emergencies.

K1 K2 K3

S1 S12


Duty 7 Fell and process trees safely.

K1 K2 K3 K5 K8 K9 K13 K17

S1 S10


Duty 8 Use specialist machinery to manage and process brush wood.

K1 K2 K5


Duty 9 Ensure work sites are left in a safe and tidy condition at the end of each working day.

K5 K16



Duty 10 Carry out formative pruning to young trees to form good canopy structure

K11 K14



Duty 11 Carries out target pruning to mature trees

K11 K15

S9 S13

Duty 12 Operate duties in a way that minimises impact upon the environment including safe and efficient use of fuels/oils, the correct handling and disposal of waste materials and sterilisation of tools and boots.

K8 K18

S1 S5

B2 B5

Duty 13 Provide good customer service and care at all times.

K10 K12 K18 K19

S6 S7 S14

B1 B2 B3 B4



K1: Arboricultural equipment and their use and maintenance requirements. Back to Duty

K2: PPE requirements for arboricultural operations. Back to Duty

K3: Principles and understanding of Health and safety legislation (Health & Safety at Work Act), standards (BS3998), and codes of practice (ICOP) in relation to arboricultural works. Back to Duty

K4: Practicalities of onsite risk assessments, with knowledge of putting in place control measures to maintain a safe working site. Back to Duty

K5: How to carry out processing of tree work arisings. Back to Duty

K6: Understanding of the use of MEWPS within the arboricultural sector. Back to Duty

K7: Key principles of electrical safety for working near power line(s), including how to read and adhere to risk assessments. Back to Duty

K8: Principles and understanding of current codes of practice including environmental and wildlife legislation in relation to arboricultural works. Back to Duty

K9: Principles and understanding of legislation relating to trees including Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas including the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Back to Duty

K10: The procedures and specific instructions for dealing with incidents and emergencies, for example, aerial rescues. Back to Duty

K11: The principles of tree planting and establishment. Back to Duty

K12: How to identify trees and the value of using their common names Back to Duty

K13: The risks and impacts of tree decay fungi Back to Duty

K14: The principles and techniques of formative pruning for young trees Back to Duty

K15: Principles and techniques of target pruning for mature trees Back to Duty

K16: Procedures for setting out workplace signage (highway & non highway) and assist with traffic control Back to Duty

K17: How to identify and manage pests, diseases, and disorders of trees Back to Duty

K18: The benefits of trees for people, air quality, nature, the environment, ecosystem services. Back to Duty

K19: Different communication techniques to use, for example, tone of voice, listening, etc. Back to Duty


S1: Recognise health and safety needs onsite and work safely Back to Duty

S2: Complete site-specific risk assessments and emergency action plans Back to Duty

S3: Select appropriate equipment for tree work operations Back to Duty

S4: Set out workplace signage (highway & non highway) and assists with traffic control Back to Duty

S5: Process tree work arisings using appropriate machinery Back to Duty

S6: Maintain and take appropriate care of tools, equipment and other onsite factors (such as customer or public buildings etc.) Back to Duty

S7: Recognise a variety of tree species using common names Back to Duty

S8: Carry out a range of formative pruning operations Back to Duty

S9: Carry out branch removal up to 200mm diameter with hand tools (target pruning for final cut). Back to Duty

S10: Fell and process small trees up to 380mm diameter. Back to Duty

S11: Support aerial tree workers with transfer of equipment for aerial tree work operations Back to Duty

S12: Perform an aerial rescue of colleague from a rope and harness Back to Duty

S13: Work safely at height in the tree under supervision Back to Duty

S14: Communicate technical information about arboricultural operations to fellow team members, clients and other stakeholders as required. Back to Duty


B1: Has a safety mind-set to protect self, colleagues, and others Back to Duty

B2: Works effectively within a team/crew Back to Duty

B3: Presents a professional manner in appearance, language, and behaviour Back to Duty

B4: Takes responsibility for completing their tasks to show they can be relied upon. Back to Duty

B5: Ensures they are mindful of environmental and sustainability factors at all times whilst carrying out their work. Back to Duty

T Level in agriculture, Land Management and Production

Qualification type: T Level

Qualification level: 3

Awarding organisation: City & Guilds

Approval date: 01/06/2023

Available from: 01/09/2023

Occupational specialism: Tree and Woodland Management and Maintenance

Product page

Aligned occupational standards

ST0223 Arborist

ST1321 Forest craftsperson

Options: Forest establishment and maintenance craftsperson , Forest harvesting craftsperson

Crown copyright © 2024. You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Visit

Is this webpage useful?

Thank you for your feedback

Tell us about your experience