Tree Climbing Course and Aerial Rescue Training

NPTC/City and Guilds Certification

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How to get your arboricultural career off the ground and feel like a kid having fun while doing it!

Our relationships with trees: a fun connection to nature

For lots of people, many happy childhood hours have been spent in and around trees. These might have included swinging from a rope tied into a sturdy low branch or sitting in a tree house nestled snuggly within a tree’s canopy, or climbing to the very top of a tree to pick the largest, juiciest of fruit invitingly challenging the fingers at the end of an outstretched arm.

For many, playing and climbing in and around trees felt very natural as children, and provided an unconscious connection to nature. It is all too easy to drift away from this connection as a busy adult.

However, for some people that connection is still very real, as they work with trees. Arguably, those who work most closely with trees day to day, are climbing arborists, or tree surgeons as otherwise known. They climb trees in order to inspect or carry out necessary work and as a result of this, they get to experience a special connection with the natural world. They feel the texture of bark or the contours of a branch, they experience the strength and flexibility of these majestic structures moving in the wind and literally get a different perspective from the canopy of a tree. This different perspective is not only of the tree itself, but of the wildlife that inhabits it and the world around it, and is a perspective that very few have the privilege of experiencing.

Tree Climbing Course 3Tree climbing as a profession

For some, the memories and feelings of climbing as a child are the reason for choosing to pursue tree climbing professionally and become a climbing arborist. For others, the physical challenges or the connection to nature may be the motivating factors, but for everyone, there is one starting point – Tree Climbing and aerial rescue training. The purpose of this training is to learn how to climb a tree with ropes and a harness and to rescue someone else from a tree. This is vital training for anyone looking to become a tree surgeon and for more information on this take a look at our previous blog – ‘How to train to become a tree Surgeon- what training is essential to get started in arboriculture’. This blog provides some guidance on training and shows that starting out as a tree surgeon can be relatively quick and straightforward.

Below is the City and Guilds NPTC Certificate of Competence, which can be gained following training and assessment at a college or an accredited training provider, like Arbsystem:

Tree Climbing and Aerial Rescue (level 2) – unit 206/306 (formerly CS38)

You can also find more information on this course on our website.

What if I like the idea of working in tree management but don’t want to climb?

Firstly, you are not alone. Many people start their career as a ground-based arborist (or grounds person). Some of these people move onto other non-climbing jobs within tree management and others are fulfilled by this role for the entirety of their careers. However, it is still very important for ground-based arborists to carry out tree climbing and aerial rescue training. Ultimately, it is vitally important that ground staff understand how to and can perform an aerial rescue if ever necessary. Furthermore, having a good level of climbing knowledge means that you will have a good understanding of what your climbing colleague’s needs will be. This will result in you being a well-rounded and competent professional, even if the only time you get both feet off the ground is to practice an aerial rescue!

How to train to become a tree Surgeon 2

I am an employer, should I get all my employees trained in Tree Climbing and aerial rescue?

In our opinion, yes.

We would recommend ensuring that all your employees are trained in Tree Climbing and aerial rescue so that an aerial rescuer is always available. If all staff are trained this can overcome several issues, such as designated aerial rescuers being off work or being unable to carry out a rescue on site for whatever reason.

Also, as previously covered, a grounds person will bring a greater level of understanding and value to their role if they have some climbing understanding.

It is also very important to consider the ability of members of staff to perform an aerial rescue quickly and effectively. We would recommend updated training if you are finding it difficult to regularly practice aerial rescues with your staff. Although this is not a replacement for regular practice, an update or refresher may be a valuable tool for getting up to speed. This is particularly important with people who are not climbing regularly but are being designated as aerial rescuers. Feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to discuss this or any other training needs at


Everyone looking to get started in a career as a tree surgeon, or already part of the arboricultural industry should be considering Tree Climbing Courses and aerial rescue training. This essential training is very rewarding and whether you are an aspiring climbing arborist, a budding grounds person, an employer or just someone who wants to feel like a kid swinging in a tree again, then this training should be near the top of your ‘to do’ list.