Apprenticeships and training funded by the Friends at Bedgebury 

In October 2016, Bedgebury took on two people for two-year Forest Craftsperson apprenticeships, Emma and Phil. The salary of one of these trainees was supported by the Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum in the form of a grant to the Forestry Commission (now Forestry England). Both apprentices were required to undertake a combination of industry-recognised training and practical hands-on experience as part of the tree team at Bedgebury. They undertook a variety of roles across the site including maintenance of the Pinetum and recreational areas, nursery activities and the provision of volunteer support and support for the Kent and Weald forest beats. One of the trainees, Emma, agreed to share her experience in a blog so that Friends' members could see a little of life inside Bedgebury and gain an insight into the way their subscriptions and donations were being used by the Friends.

Emma and Phil completed their apprenticeships in 2018 and immediately took on new roles at Bedgebury. Emma succeeded in replacing the site's retiring Nursery Supervisor, and Phil was appointed as a Forest Craftsperson. Although Phil moved on to share his skills and knowledge with students at Plumpton College at the end of 2019, Emma remains to share her knowledge with the next generation of apprentices.

And so the journey continues! In October 2018, Bedgebury's next apprentice, Harry, joined the team. Find out how Harry is progressing through his apprenticeship journey.  Harry is due to graduate in October 2020 and two more apprentices will arrive in November.

Apprenticeships aren't the only way to gain skills and knowledge at Bedgebury. From October to December 2019, Brian, a passionate tree enthusiast exploring his love of conifers before continuing his studies at Oxford University in autumn 2020, joined the tree team as a volunteer. With them he undertook various tasks in the Pinetum, including helping to plant trees, and cataloguing, examining and reporting on the progress of specimen trees. The Friends is proud to support the Pinetum’s scientific projects, and as part of that commitment, and assisted by a generous grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, is now funding Brian's employment for a period in 2020 to work on a tree verification and recording project in the Pinetum. Brian's experiences in the Pinetum will be shared with readers in occasional blogs, and the Friends' 2020 magazine, now available online and as a hard copy, explains Bedgebury's sentinel role in international tree health and the work Brian has been doing to support this endeavour.

Bedgebury's apprentices and trainees

Click on the images below to find out more about Bedgebury's apprentices. 

Brian 2

Brian - Projects 2019-2020 

Harry Forest Apprentice 2019

Harry - Apprentice 2018-2020

Emma nursery tour 2

Emma - Apprentice 2016-2018