How To Take On An Apprentice In Arboriculture

Taking on an apprentice is a rewarding way to fill staff shortages, grow your business and give back to the industry. But whilst taking on an apprentice may seem straightforward, because of the nature of the arrangement, it can get complex. Since the apprentices' time will be split between work and and training, you may want to consider if this mode of hiring is right for you and your business.

So how do you take on an apprentice in arboriculture?

  • Understand the gaps in your business
  • Ensure you are in a position to take on an apprentice 
  • Create a listing and fill out your listing accurately 
  • Find an arborist apprenticeship training provider
  • Choose your candidate
  • Understand the finances involved
  • Pick the End-point Assessment Organisation
  • Fulfil your responsibilities

Here at Arbjobs, we help over 3,500 tree surgery firms to find new employees and apprentices every day. As a dedicated arboriculture jobs board, we connect firms and prospective employees and build fruitful working relationships. 

How To Find a Candidate For Your Tree Surgery or Arborist Apprenticeship

We have over 24 years of experience in providing tree surgery and arboriculture businesses to find, train and retain apprentices, In this blog, we will outline the 8 steps you would need to take to train someone during an apprenticeship until and during their End-Point Assessment. 

Step 1. Understand The Gaps in Your Business

Taking on an apprentice is a great way to fill a gap in your business. If you need to build a team, then hiring an apprentice could be your best option. 

However, it is important to review whether your business is capable of taking on an apprentice arborist. Do your current employees have the capacity to train staff, for instance? 

Learning day-to-day protocols, workplace etiquette, and company culture is essential, even for the simplest tasks. Employers must invest time in adequately training their employees in all aspects of the job to entrust them with everyday tasks without supervision.

You will need to be prepared for some mistakes, too.

If you have many experienced workers, then their development could be improved when they train an apprentice themselves. You ought to consult your experienced staff in their ability and desire to train apprentices, as well as review their capacity to teach and train arborist apprentices as they work. 

Remember, training will take up around 20% of an apprentice’s day, with a further 2 days a week being dedicated to assessments and study with a college. This will likely take up 20% or more of your experienced staff's time too. 

Step 2: Ensure Your Business is in a Position to Take on an Apprentice 

Employers must have liability insurance for apprenticeships, as it is a legal requirement. This ensures that the workforce is well taken care of and prioritises their well-being, but it also ensures that the apprentice is covered should an incident occur. 

If your firm is covered by an insurance policy, it is worth checking that this policy covers apprentices, too. Since your apprentice is an employee like any other, you need to see if your insurance package needs to be changed to cover your new employee. 

This would be particularly important if your apprentice is under the age of 18. 

You may also want to consider if your business is in a financial position to take on an apprentice. Refer to Step 6 for more information on arborist apprenticeship funding and the requirements your business must meet to apply for funding. 

Step 3. Create a Listing on Arbjobs and Fill Out Your Listing Accurately

Once you have decided that your business can take on apprentice employees, it is time to find the right candidate. 

To do this, you would need to create a job listing and advertise it. Using Arbjobs, a dedicated jobs boards for the arboriculture sector, can exponentially increase the chances of attracting the right candidates. 

After completing your company account registration, you will need to create a job listing that provides enough information to the candidates for them to reply and get the ball rolling. To do this, we recommend the following 7 steps:

  1. Appeal to the person applying
  2. Research the job market
  3. Be realistic and honest
  4. Promote your benefits
  5. Use the marketing tools available
  6. Promote your Ad
  7. Be communicative and respond as soon as possible

Whilst creating a job listing can be time-consuming, taking the extra effort to appeal to prospective apprentices is worth it. 

When hiring an apprentice, it is crucial for the employer to have a clear understanding of their requirements. This includes:

  • Specifying the length of the contract
  • Minimum age of the apprentice
  • Targeted salary
  • Work hours
  • Physical requirements

For more information on how to appeal to the best candidates, apprentices included, why not read our blog on Creating an Effective Job Description for Tree Surgeon Positions

Step 4. Find an Arborist Apprenticeship Training Provider

Once you have found your candidate, you need to find an apprenticeship training provider. These will be colleges and facilities throughout the UK.

The following training providers have been noted by Arbjobs as offering a good standard of training partnerships with arboricultural firms. This list isn’t extensive, so it might be worth reviewing your local college to see if they offer apprenticeships.

East of England

East Midlands


North East

North West

South East

South West

West Midlands

Yorkshire and Humber

Northern Ireland



Contacting your prospective training partner early will give you and your prospective apprentice the best chances of getting in. You will have a financial involvement with the training partner (see: Step 6), so leaving this to your apprentice won’t be sufficient. 

Speaking with your applicants about which college they are interested in applying to will allow you to contact this college independently and start a relationship which may last for up to 2 years. 

Step 5. Choose Your Candidate

Once you have found your local training provider, you will now be in a good position to pick your candidate(s). 

This may take different forms depending on your business's requirements, but you ought to pick someone whose values and skills fit into the position for which you are hiring. This apprentice will be working closely with you and your team for the foreseeable future. Hiring the wrong apprentice will be time-consuming and potentially dangerous if they misunderstand the requirements of the job. This is also true if you pick a candidate that can’t meet the requirements of the job.

We recommend contacting your candidates shortly after they have applied for the position to build up rapport and show them that you have shown an interest in taking them on for an apprenticeship. 

Step 6. Understand the Finances Involved

You may be eligible to receive financial assistance from the government to cover the cost of the apprenticeship training provided by you. 

Your business may also be eligible for an extra payment of £1,000 based on the apprentice that you hire. This funding is to partially pay towards the training of the apprentice.

If your business, or another business or charity that your business is connected with earns over a certain amount, however, you must pay something called an Apprenticeship Levy. 

Do you need to pay the Apprenticeship Levy?

If your business earns over £3,000,000 a year then you must pay an Apprenticeship Levy of 0.5% of your annual pay bill back to the government for taking on apprentices. 

When you employ apprentices, you must send an Employer Payment Summary to HM Revenue and Customs with your total annual pay bill for the previous year's payroll. Your eligibility for the Apprenticeship Levy will be based on this figure. 

If the Apprenticeship Levy doesn’t apply

If the Apprenticeship Levy doesn’t apply to a business of your size, you will still be responsible for contributing 5% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice. 

To do this, you must first come to an agreement with the training provider regarding a payment schedule, and then pay them directly for the training. 

The government will cover the remaining 95% of the cost up to the funding band maximum and will send the payment directly to the training provider.

If you choose to pay your apprentice the minimum of £15,000 per annum, then you could get up to £14,250 towards their training paying only £750 yourself.

You can get help with working out funding by using this government portal.

Step 7. Pick The End-Point Assessment Organisation 

The  End-Point Assessment (EPA) is the last step an apprentice takes to finish their apprenticeship. They must showcase their knowledge to an independent end-point assessor, and the available grading options are pass or fail.

Note: The EPA cannot be the same organisation who were the apprentices' training provider and you must apply for your EPA during the first 3 months of the apprenticeship.

If the apprentice is taking an Arborist (Level 2) Apprenticeship, then there are several options available across the UK.

However, we have listed notable End-Point Assessment Organisations below.

Lantra Awards

Lantra Awards is one EPAO that regularly holds End-Point Assessments for Arborist Level 2 Apprenticeships. 

All Contacts

Website -

Email -

Telephone - 02476 696996

City and Guilds

City and Guilds also offer their support as an End-Point Assessment Organisation for arborist apprenticeships. 

Website -


Phone - 0192 4930 800

Email -

Learners and Employers

Phone -0192 4930 801

Email -

Step 8. Fulfil Your Responsibilities

Once you have all of the above covered, it will be time to take on your apprentice in arboriculture. Employers and their teams should remember that an apprentice is there to learn and gain job experience. This means that they may be younger than a normal hire and potentially lacking in work-based experience. 

It is important to take a slower approach with apprentices than to other members of the team and some of your time must be set aside for extra preparation because of this reason. Apprentices aren’t cheap labour, but a valuable resource as the next up-and-coming workers on the UK’s trees. Ensure that their learning is steady, fair and appropriate and take what you can from the valuable learning experience that training an apprentice can provide. 

Tree Surgery Apprenticeships and Arbjobs

If you are an employee, apprentice or employer, Arbjobs is a valuable resource for the arboricultural industry. 

Posting a job offer is paid for by you, and it gives you the ability to appear in front of thousands of prospective employees and apprentices every week. 

Setting up Job Alerts has never been easier, too. This service gives you the ability to email prospective candidates directly with your job listing, prompting them to apply if your listing meets their requirements.