Otago Polytechnic

Arboriculture programme (Level 3 and 4)

Location

Dunedin

Duration
One year full-time (Level 3 and Level 4)
Delivery

On campus with hands-on training in the field and four weeks of work experience

Credits
145
Level
3 and 4
Start
February
Apply
until start date
  • Location
    Intake
    Study breaks
  • Central Otago
    18 February 2019
    1 July 2019 - 19 July 2019
    15 April 2019 - 26 April 2019
    30 September 2019 - 11 October 2019
  • Dunedin
    7 February 2019
    8 July 2019 - 19 July 2019
    15 April 2019 - 26 June 2019
    23 September 2019 - 4 October 2019

Do you love working outdoors and want a hands-on, physical job? Arborists are in demand for their ability to care for, and maintain, trees.

Become a tree surgeon by studying arboriculture – a specialised field involving pruning, felling, transplanting and maintaining the health of trees and shrubs. New Zealand’s diverse and robust horticulture and related industries have experienced a steady growth over recent years and this means that qualified and experienced arborists are in demand, not only in this country, but across the world.

During this programme you will learn both the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of carrying out arboriculture tasks, with an emphasis on hands-on training in parks and garden areas around Dunedin. Field trips and work experience are important parts of the programme that help you to connect with those already working in this dynamic industry.

This programme is based in Dunedin and will give you the work-ready skills to enter the arboriculture industry. Employment opportunities exist within City or District council parks and gardens, with private companies, or as a contract climber. With motivation and further experience you could even think about self-employment or tree care consultancy roles.

Graduates of this programme will receive both the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3) (Arboriculture) and New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Services (Level 4) (Arboriculture).

Skills required
  • Physical fitness
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Good communication and team work skills
  • A good work ethic
  • An eye for detail 
Entry requirements 

Academic

  • NCEA Level 1 or equivalent.
  • Applicants must have the physical and cognitive ability required for tree climbing and working at heights. A medical certificate may be requested to support an individual’s eligibility to enrol in the programme.           

 

All students (international and domestic) for whom English is not a first language:

  • must demonstrate English Language skills with an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5, with no band score lower than 5.0 OR
  • must provide acceptable alternative evidence of English language proficiency depending on the visa decline rate of the country you are from. See here for acceptable evidence and visa decline rates by country.

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance you are not required to provide evidence of English Language skills.

If you need to improve your English, we offer a range of English language programmes.  

 

Special entry

  • In exceptional circumstances, any applicant who does not meet the academic entry requirements may be granted entry to the programme where they supply evidence of their ability to succeed in the programme to the Learning Leader of the Programme. 

Other requirements

  • If accepted, you must comply with the current Drug and Alcohol Policy for the Arboriculture Programme.
  • All students will complete the National Adult Literacy and Numeracy Assessment tool on commencement and on completion of their programme. 
Selection procedure
  • Applications that meet the entry requirements are processed on a first come-first served basis until the programme has reached capacity.
You will study 
Course Credits

Communication 
Work as effective team members in the horticulture sector

  • Cooperate and participate within a horticulture team
  • Communicate effectively using a range of techniques
  • Listen and respond appropriately to team members and colleagues

10

Health and Safety Management*
Identify and manage health and safety requirements in arboriculture

  • Identify and manage risks in arboriculture 

15

Foundation Climbing Skills 
Identify and use basic climbing equipment and techniques 

  • Identify equipment and its appropriate use in climbing
  • Identify and use safe climbing techniques

15

Tree Identification and Pruning 
Identify trees and carry out pruning tasks

  • Identify common trees used in arboritculture
  • Describe the structure and growth responses of plants 
  • Apply basic pruning techniques to trees and shrubs

10

Ground Duties and Equipment 
Carry out ground person tasks and maintain arboriculture equipment

  • Use and maintain arboriculture machinery and tools 
  • Perform grounds person's duties in arboriculture situations 

10

 

Tree Planting 
Plant and establish trees and shrubs

  • Describe soil characteristics that influence plant growth 
  • Prepare, plant, and establish a range of trees and shrubs 

10

 

Supervisory Skills in Arboriculture 
Use interpersonal communication skills to achieve desired outcomes in arboriculture

  • Instruct and supervise team members to achieve desired outcomes
  • Give and receive feedback in a supervisory role

10

 

Tree Climbing Technique
Climb trees safely in arboriculture

  • Climb trees using a range of approved techniques 
  • Carry out an aerial rescue in arboriculture situations  

15 

Pruning techniques
Carry out pruning techniques in arboriculture situations

  • Prune trees and shrubs using a range of techniques
  • Use chainsaws to prune safely at height 

10 

Tree Health
Assess tree health in arboriculture situations

  • Identify and describe pests, diseases and disorders
  • Carry out a tree assessment in arboriculture situations 

10 

Tree Felling
Fell trees safely from the ground 

  • Directionally fell trees in a controlled manner using a range of techniques 
  • Limb and process felled trees in arboriculture situations

15 

Sectional Felling
Sectionally fell trees in arboriculture situations

  • Dismantle trees in a controlled manner without the use of rigging equipment 
  • Dismantle trees in a controlled manner using rigging techniques 

15 

Additional costs 
Your workload

Usual timetable hours are Monday-Wednesday, 8.30am – 4.30 pm; Thursday 9.00am - 3.00pm and no class on Friday’s unless specified by your Lecturer

On average you will undertake three days a week of practical instruction and one day a week of theoretical teaching. In addition to this you will carry out your own self-directed study. It is expected that you will participate in four weeks of work experience during your programme.

Programme specific risks

There are a number of health and safety issues associated with the practical delivery of arboriculture training. You will be advised of the physical risks and requirements of the programme either in person or by telephone before you enrol. You will be advised of the need to purchase the listed clothing and equipment and the reasons for this. 

Risks include injury to the body due to the physical nature of arboriculture work (manual labour, lifting, bending, falls from working at heights, eyesight) and from using sharp tools and equipment (secateurs, hand saws, chainsaws, spades) and larger machinery (chipper). There is a risk from poisonous plants, insect stings, the physical environment (excessive heat or cold, wet weather, working in isolation and machinery noise). 

Student loans/allowances 

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful.

For further information  

Please email lisa.burton@op.ac.nz

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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