Training & Assessment

I've got a ‘Blue Book' - do I need training and assessment?

If you undertook chainsaw training several years ago, you may have been given a ‘blue book'; your assessor would have signed off the relevant section to denote that you were competent with the task.

However, that was several years ago, and things have moved on... 10+ years ago, the ‘blue book' was withdrawn and owners of these books had to present them to NPTC to transfer their certificates on to the new system. There was a grace period provided by NPTC, but that has long since passed - if you still have a ‘blue book' that was not updated by NPTC during the grace period, then you will have lost your entitlement to those certificates of competence. This means that you are considered to no longer hold those ‘tickets' and you would have to take the new Level 2 Award assessments.

Do I need training?

In some ways, only you can decide that... you can opt to undertake the assessment without any formal training, but we believe you will be severely limiting your chances of being successful if you decide to do that.

Our training goes beyond what is nominally required for the assessment, and due to the instructor's knowledge- and skill-base, you will find that we can provide useful training that will challenge you to build on your own previous experience through the use of analysis and evaluation.

For professional workers, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 applies, and that means that you must have had training that is adequate and appropriate to the level of complexity of work involved, and allows you to work safely and productively in the given work environment.

I've had my tickets for years, never had an accident and would consider myself safe; but my boss has said I have to do this training - I don't understand why?

I'm sure you are a safe user of the equipment you use, and you have plenty of experience in using it, but there are a number of reasons why your boss is making you attend a training course

If you have a ticket (let's take a chainsaw related certificate as an example), then you will have to attend refresher training every five years. There's a number of reasons for this, some are about insurance and others are about ensuring that you are kept up-to-date with the latest methods within your industry. A surprising number of people fall into ‘bad habits' very quickly and it can be good to revisit your own working practices to ensure that they meet today's standards.

What training do I need?

There are training courses and assessments to cover almost any operation and equipment to be found within forestry, arboriculture, horticulture, grounds management, etc., from leaf blowers to tractor-mounted boom sprayers, from pedestrian-controlled mowers to timber harvesters. Please contact us to discuss your requirements, or browse through our list of courses to find what is on offer.

Do I need to take the assessment?

Probably, yes! But read on to find out more...

If you are using the chainsaw for private work and not for reward, then you do not need to undertake the assessment; although many of our private students do complete the assessment successfully and view it as part of operating a chainsaw competently.

However, if you are a professional user of the saw for carrying out tree work operations then you will have to take, and pass, the assessment to prove competency. This is because the Approved Code of Practice (a supporting regulation of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) states:

"...Before using a chainsaw to carry out work on or in a tree, a worker should have received appropriate training and obtained a relevant certificate of competence or national competence award".

What equipment do I need?

Bring your food and something to drink if your course means working away from the workshops here at BCA Landbased. Also, wear suitable outer clothing for the weather.

We can provide personal protective equipment, and the equipment used for all our chainsaw related courses, tree climbing courses, pesticides, horticultural and 4x4 courses.

If you are booked on to the tree climbing and aerial rescue course, you should wear supportive boots (or we can provide suitable footwear).

You may prefer to use your own PPE and equipment, but this will be checked by the instructor to ensure that it meets relevant guidelines and safety standards.

What time do the courses start?

The first day of the course starts at 09:00, thereafter it is by arrangement between the learners and the instructor, although we find that after the first day, subsequent starts are usually 08:30.

For bespoke training, we can arrange to start at a time to suit your requirements.

Please let the instructor know if you have any appointments during the course as they may be able to alter the training slightly to accommodate your important appointment.

Can training be carried out at my worksite?

Yes. We can provide either bespoke training, or ‘off-the-shelf' training at your worksite; however there are some provisos:

1. The site must be suitable for the training and assessment, we will ask about site requirements if you want training at your location, and may want to assess it's suitability beforehand.
2. Please don't offer us a worksite that you "...thought might be good for students to learn on...", this is often read as you don't want to pay for the work that needs doing. In these cases, if you are not also providing trainees then you may be charged for the work at full commercial rates.

Do you do 1:1 training?

Yes, we can provide 1:1 training but often people find this very expensive and very intensive. Although it depends on the course, student numbers are limited and you would normally find that our instructors provide plenty of advice and guidance on a 1:1 basis even within a normal public course.

Who will be teaching me?

Our instructors are all qualified and experienced within their field. Our Head of Department holds an Honours Degree in Education, as well as being qualified in their field of expertise; this dual-role professionalism is at the heart of what we provide so you can be sure of supportive training to guide you through the course.

Local Hotels / B&B's

I'm not from the Marlow / Maidenhead area - where can I stay?

There are a number of places to stay that are local to the workshops here at BCA Landbased. Please be aware that we have no affiliations with any of those listed below:

Hurley House

Henley Road, Hurley, Maidenhead. SL6 5LH |01628 568 500 | hello@hurleyhouse.co.uk | https://hurleyhouse.co.uk/

The Grenfell Arms

22 Oldfield Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire. SL6 1TW | 01628 620 705 | gfarereservations@icloud.com | http://www.grenfellarmsmaidenhead.co.uk/

Bird In Hand

Bath Road, Knowl Hill, Reading, Berkshire. RG10 9UP | 01628 826 622 | birdinhand@wadworth.co.uk | www.birdinhand.co.uk

Crowne Plaza Marlow

Fieldhouse Lane, Marlow. SL7 1GJ | 01628 496 800 | https://bit.ly/2BUw4l1

Holiday Inn Maidenhead

Manor Lane, Maidenhead. SL6 2RA | 0871 423 4901 | | https://bit.ly/2wWKWZs |

Premier Inn Maidenhead

Kidwells Park Drive | Maidenhead Town Centre, Maidenhead SL6 8TZ | 0333 003 8101 | https://bit.ly/2LxNu6P


Personal Issues

I'm dyslexic, and worried that I won't be able to keep up on the course. Can you help?

Yes, our instructors understand that no single learning style is going to suit everybody and can adapt the training to help you. That means for people who have dyslexia, we may be able to offer audio CD's covering the assessment schedule, we can also inform the assessor so they are aware - but please do not worry, many of the assessments do not require you to read a question paper and write down the answers as they are mainly practical assessments and verbal questions relating to the underpinning knowledge.

Personal fitness and medical alerts?

Many of the courses that we run are physically demanding - a course felling trees for example may find you walking through brash on un-level ground, as well as having to move and lift timber; tree climbing and aerial rescue will find you climbing trees that may be 60' / 20m, or more, high; the handheld pesticides course will mean that you have to carry a knapsack sprayer on your back, and these can be heavy once filled with liquid.

Whilst we don't require super-human feats of stamina, endurance and strength, nor indeed will we breaking through any pain-barriers, you will need to have a modicum of fitness to undertake some of the courses we offer.

Medical alerts, or less-abled people, are welcome on our courses - but please let us know in advance so we can advise as there is a duty-of-care on both parties to ensure the safety of learners and staff (who are all fully qualified first-aiders). So, if you are diabetic, suffer from asthma, or some other serious medical issue please tell us and we can discuss how we can help you achieve your goals.

I'm gay / transgender / from an ethnic minority / pregnant - and nervous about attending?

We'll deal with pregnancy in a moment, but for everything else... we don't care! Not "we don't care" in a nasty way, but just to say that it makes no difference to us or our instructors. We are here to help you reach your goals, and you will find that we will support anyone, from whatever background, belief, gender, sexual orientation, sex - we want you to succeed.

Let's be clear - we will not tolerate bullying of any kind.

Now, pregnancy. First off, congratulations! Secondly, as long as you and your doctor are happy for you to attend your choice of training course, then we're happy to train you.