Forest Craftsperson

Level 3 Apprenticeship

The broad purpose of the occupation is to carry out the practical operations required to create, maintain and harvest forestry and woodland. Harvesting operatives will carry out the range of duties required to fell, process and extract trees and timber.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for initiating and completing their own work to specification, with minimal supervision, ensuring they meet set deadlines. They are responsible for meeting quality requirements and working in accordance with legislation, environmental, health, safety and welfare considerations. They are accountable for the health and safety of themselves and others. They are expected to exercise responsibility, autonomy and judgement within limited parameters. They perform tasks that are complex and non-routine and may be in a variety of contexts. Forest operatives are responsible for checking their tools, equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) are maintained and safe to use. They report to team leaders and or works supervisors

The pathway available is :

  • Harvesting

What apprentices will learn

  • Health and safety legislation and codes of practice, including risk assessments
  • Biosecurity and environmental legislation
  • Principles of silvercultural practice in the UK 
  • Methods to identify trees and woodland plants
  • Tree and plant biology, physiology, lifecycles, growing conditions, landscape and timber properties
  • Techniques for measuring standing trees
  • Techniques for felling small trees and removing unwanted vegetation
  • Controlling pests and diseases
  • Understanding the timber industry
  • Principles of plant growth and development
  • How to use equipment correctly
  • Maintain forest infrastruture
  • Operate and maintain forestry tools, equipment and machinery
  • Maintain records including digital records and reports
  • Use geographical tools including Global Positioning Systems (GPS), maps and plans
  • Measure and select trees for harvesting
  • Harvest trees and prepare timber for extraction

Qualifications Awarded

  • Apprenticeship Certificate
  • Level 3 award in emergency first aid at work (in a forestry context known as +F)
  • Level 3 award n severing uprooted or windblown trees using a chainsaw
  • Level 2 award in chainsaw maintenance and cross-cutting
  • Level 2 award in crosscutting timber using a chainsaw
  • Level 2 certificate of competence in felling and processing trees up to 380mm
  • Level 3 award Award In Felling and Processing Trees over 380mm
  • Level 2 in maths and English (if applicable)

Delivery model

A  blended learning programme with practical learning at college which will include skills and knowledge teaching and undertaking necessary industry qualifications alongside a mix of online knowledge workshops and workplace skills observations and reviews. 

The Forestry Craftsperson Level 3 apprenticeship is delivered on a block delivery model, with apprentices attending Plumpton College for four days a week every month in the first year of the apprenticeship. This is reduced during year two.

Course details

Dates & Location

Next cohort enrolment is September 2023 with commencement of in college delivery October 2023


Typically 24 months (some apprentices could complete sooner depending on their previous experience and qualifications, their perfomance during the apprenticeship and the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in the workplace) practical period with 3-month End Point Assessment window.


Costs will be dependent on several factors such as age of apprentice and size of employer. Please contact our Business Services team on 01273 892127 for more information.

Entry Requirements

Maths and English assessment 

Apprentices who are unable to evidence previous English or maths GCSE (or equivalent) at grade 4/C at point of enrolment will be required to attend Functional Skills classes on the forth day of each delivery block. 

Job role and experience suitability assessment

Apprentices must be employed in a role with duties that will allow the development of the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours. To qualify for apprenticeship funding the apprentice must develop significant new skills and knowledge on the programme.

To enrol onto an apprenticeship programme you need to be employed with a contract of employment. If you have an employer lined up or are already employed please contact our Apprenticeship Team on 01273 892127 or via email.

If you do not currently have an employer please visit the main Apprenticeships page for guidance on how to find and apply for an apprenticeship opportunity or register for our Talent Bank service.

If you are an employer and would like to recruit or enrol an existing employee onto an apprenticeship please contact our Business Services team on  01273 892127 or via email.


  • Apprentices benefit from tutors and work coaches with over 20+ years’ experience of working within the forestry sector.
  • You'll have access to the latest equipment and technology and the college estate and surrounding South Downs National Park.
  • Apprentices receive discounts on accredited qualifications offered by LandPro Training

Future Opportunities

On completion of this apprenticeships learners may choose to progress to further, higher level learning with the enrolment on the Professional Forester (integrated degree) apprenticeship or into full time employment. 

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