Veteran Tree Management Skills Certification Erasmus Project

General information for the Veteran Tree Management Skills Certification Erasmus Project

Veteran Tree Management Skills Certification Erasmus Project
July 7, 2020 12:00 am

Project Title

Veteran Tree Management Skills Certification

Project Key Action

This project related with these key action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices

Project Action Type

This project related with this action type : Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training

Project Call Year

This project’s Call Year is 2016

Project Topics

This project is related with these Project Topics: Entrepreneurial learning – entrepreneurship education; Recognition, transparency, certification; Agriculture, forestry and fisheries

Project Summary

This project picked up where the successful VETree project (2012-1-SE1-LEO0511641) left off. The VETree project was a European-wide project which ran from 2012 to 2014. It involved partners from the UK, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Romania, and focused on the development of freely available training material in veteran tree management. Two short courses in veteran tree management were produced as well as a number of videos focusing on specific elements of veteran tree management.
This led to an increased awareness of the value of veteran trees, but identified that there were no means for individuals to stand out from the crowd of tree work professionals. Thus, procurers of veteran tree services have struggled to identify suitable professional providers. The VETcert project sought to address this problem by developing a new pan-European certification scheme for veteran tree management.

VETcert comprised ten partners from seven European countries representing all of the main target groups. These are from Sweden (Pro Natura – training organisation; SAF – practising and consulting arborists, STF – purchasers of services), UK (ATF – training organisation, AA – certification organisation and representing practising and consulting arborists), Belgium (Natuurinvest – training organisation), Spain (AEA- arboricultural association representing arborists), France (CD22 – a municipality representing purchasers of services and wider contact with tree training organisations) , Czech Republic (Safe Trees – consulting arborists and developers of standards in CZ) and the European Arboricultural Coucil (based in Germany) which are the European certifying organisation for European Tree Worker and Technician certifications.

The project objectives were:
• Recognise skills and knowledge in veteran tree management;
• Define minimum skills and knowledge at two operational levels: practising and consulting tree work professionals;
• Increase the opportunities for tree work professionals across Europe;
• Raise standards in veteran tree management across Europe.

Working with such a wide range of partners brings benefits such as a diversity of backgrounds, knowledge and experience, but it also brings challenges. The first item of work was to research existing certification schemes and establish what could be learnt from them. This fed into the next stage of the project which involved developing a veteran tree standard against which candidates will be assessed at two levels. This went through a thorough process of consultation within the partnership and beyond as well as being quality controlled by an external expert. The standards at two levels – practising and consulting – are available for download on the website, in English, French, German, Spanish, Czech and Swedish. They cover topics ranging from ecology, cultural history, and pruning to safety issues, decay, and planning.
Once the standards were set, new training materials were developed to supplement those produced as part of the VETree project to fill the gaps. These materials will ensure that candidates who put themselves forward for certification can meet the necessary standard. One example of the materials is a series of eight films covering the relationships between trees and fungi. The films were created with the help of Professor Lynne Boddy and cover topics such as the hollowing process and mycorrhizae. Three other films were also produced on unconventional pruning techniques, urban veteran trees and pole thinning. These are all freely available to download. A two day advanced course was also developed along with a range of fact sheets and case studies to help self-learning. At the same time, the examination and certification process, a key part of the project, was developed and thoroughly tested both on project partners and willing external “guinea pigs” that gave valuable feedback on the process. All of the examination and certification materials have been translated into SE, CZ, BE, ES, FR. Finally the long term sustainability of the system had to be established. This has been done via an agreement with the EAC, which will be the European managing body for VETcert from its launch on 1st September. Over 670 people have expressed an interest in taking the VETcert Certification within the next three years from a total of 12 countries, over and above the 7 partner countries, including the USA and New Zealand! This indicates the broad dissemination work and impact of the project both within and beyond the project partner countries. Already several organisations have written the VETcert certification as a requirement in their framework agreements i.e. that it needs to be achieved within 12 months. This also indicates that the project has reached both the contracting organisations as well as the end-users.

EU Grant (Eur)

Funding of the project from EU: 397210,06 Eur

Project Coordinator

Stiftelsen Pro Natura & Country: SE

Project Partners

  • The Swedish Arborist Federation SAF
  • SAFE TREES, s.r.o.
  • Ancient Tree Forum
  • European Arboricultural Council
  • Conseil Départemental des Côtes d’Armor
  • Arboricultural Association Ltd