Each month Pro Arb’s apprenticeship feature showcases a young person starting out in the arboriculture industry. This month, we meet Matthew Laine.
What is your name and age?
Matthew Laine, 24.
What is your role within Conservation Contractors Ltd?
I’m the apprentice arborist here.
Why did you choose arboriculture?
My previous jobs included working on tug boats in Portsmouth and spending time on a tall ship for six months. I then moved to Wiltshire where I was land locked, and I realised I wanted a job outside in the elements that was as challenging as boating. Arboriculture seemed my best bet.
Did you go to college? If so, where and what qualifications did you get?
I have been going to Kingston Maurwood College in Dorchester. I’ve passed Emergency First Aid, Nptc Felling under 380mm (203), Nptc Powered Pole Pruner (205), Nptc Stump On Grinder (220), Nptc Wood Chipper and my Aerial
What is your favourite part of your current role?
My favourite part has to be driving all the different vehicles and being able to climb. The climbing brings back my sailing days going up the mast.
And what’s the worst part of your job?
The worst part is when I have to drag brash around awkward gardens. I also don’t like having to wear chainsaw protective trousers in the heat – although I know I have to!
What does a typical day consist of for you?
I arrive at the yard at about 8am, load the truck up with the gear, and head off to that day’s job. The climber will lower branches down once they’ve been cut and I’ll drag the brash to the chipper and load it all in. Once the job is finished to a high standard, I use a backpack blower to clean up all the sawdust and leaves and head back to the yard to unload the truck before heading off home.
What is your favourite piece of equipment to use?
My favourite piece of equipment is the 26m mobile elevated work platform we have.
In terms of completion of your training, when do you expect to become a fully qualified arborist?
Once I have passed my Using a Chainsaw from a Rope and Harness ticket, but I won’t be up to industry standard for another three years.
How important would you say colleague interaction and learning from those you work with is in your path to becoming a qualified arborist?
It is very important. I need to learn from the rest of the team as they have more knowledge of the trade than I do. They also have plenty of horror stories that ensure you remember to be safe while doing the work. Things they mention help you to add to your own experience – like when they talk about positioning in a tree while climbing. Arboriculture is hard on the body, and the easier you can make it, the longer you will be able to stay in the trade.
Is there a structured development plan for you at Conservation Contractors?
There’s a programme for all the staff, which I hope will serve me well in the future.
Do you have a designated mentor at your workplace?
The whole of the arb team are my mentors!
What are your future ambitions within the industry?
My ambitions are to become a qualified climber, then hopefully team leader.
“Matt came to us halfway through his apprenticeship with another company, he was studying at Kingston Maurward in Dorchester one day a week. He has proved to be an asset to the company and will be given all the training and experience required to become an arborist and team leader in due time. We had not considered an apprentice before but would like to hear from anyone looking for a placement in the future!” – William Walden, Managing Director