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    R2: Competence Matters

    R2 is an online tool allowing you to demonstrate competence to potential customers in terms of skills, knowledge and experience

    Tree care businesses and arboricultural operatives are being encouraged to demonstrate competence through skills and experience, not merely through a fist full of tickets. This is thanks to a new online skills register for the industry.

    There has been a tendency in recent years for those starting their careers in the arboricultural industry to become focused on collecting various certificates rather than the development of true competence.

    There has been no means of differentiating between those who have just completed their training, and those who have spent several years building up critical experience in this field.

    It has long been recognised that competence involves a mixture of training, qualifications and subsequent practice over a period of time. The Register of Tree Work Operatives (R2) seeks to address this situation by showcasing arborists’ competence in terms of their skills, experience and training as well as their current job grade. R2 presents graded jobs in a progressive structure. R2 members have to achieve certain criteria at each level and must apply to be quality assured before they can progress to the next. Each job level has prerequisite qualifications and training as well as experience in the industry and practical tasks to be undertaken on the job.

    To record these achievements, the R2 software has the capability to upload images of training and qualification certificates. Significantly, there is also a facility for keeping record of the time worked in the industry. Tree workers are able to build a portfolio of tasks they have undertaken in the workplace by recording them for each job. These include practical tree work tasks such as felling. It is not sufficient to have the appropriate certificate of competence; the operative must demonstrate the skills on several occasions.

    For example, the Tree Worker (Aerial) grade specification states: “Fells and processes small trees to include using basic assisted fell techniques.” In practice this means that on five separate occasions, the registrant safely fells small trees of less than 380mm diameter at felling height. On at least two occasions, the registrant installs and directs the assisted felling of trees using a rope or winch.

    In addition to technical tree work, there are other skills that operatives must achieve including time keeping, presentation and team leading skills. “It has been critical to get feedback from practising arboricultural operatives about the typical roles, job titles, qualifications and training required within the sector to achieve that grade, along with relevant taskspecific experience and the typical time served,” explained Tony Lane, arboriculture consultant and R2 management committee member.

    Evidence of work being completed to a suitable standard to meet the requirements of the scheme will need to be confirmed by an appropriate witness. This could be the supervisor, manager or even the customer, depending on the nature of the skill being endorsed.

    R2 is proud to be supported by Makita, our platinum sponsor.

    For further information about R2, or to register please visit www.r2register.co.uk. You can follow R2 on Twitter @R2_Online

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