My name is Alyn English and I attended the Fast track tree surgery Course in the autumn of 2010. I run an outdoor pursuits business in the forest of Dean (Yeehaa Outdoor Ltd.) and was looking to retrain in something that would keep me busy during the winter months. Having been a gardener in a previous life becoming a tree surgeon appealed to me. To be honest I was very apprehensive about this course when I first came across it. In my professional life attaining relevant qualifications I have attended hundred of courses and have felt ripped off or frustrated at the level of which many were delivered, having pretty high standards and being an instructor myself. My apprehension was also in that the course seemed too good to be true. Firstly there was the amount of money I needed to pay for the course yes it is a lot. Would it be value for money? Would it actually deliver what it boasted? Would I actually be able to achieve these qualifications with my limited knowledge of tree work? Lastly would I be able to find work with only 6 weeks experience? I tried to find a course closer to me- there isn’t one! I tried to do the same modules locally. Gloucestershire has two of the biggest agricultural colleges in the country after inquiring about their courses I estimated to get the same qualifications would have taken me three! Yes three years so I bit the bullet and applied for the Proclimber fast track course. I arrived on the Sunday night before the course started and was greeted by Andrew and Caroline who introduced me to our hosts and other students, this was a nice touch and questions were answered as well as last minute kit ordered.
The first day of the chainsaw course was getting to know chainsaws and their inner workings, and although I had done some work with a chainsaw before I still learnt a lot, and felt confident in the maintenance and repair of saw and chain even though I wouldn’t describe myself as a particularly “technical or mechanically minded person”. It was a good way to start the six weeks as you got to spend table time with fellow students and instructor (Chris). We then had the Assessment and it was done in a professional manner, there is no easy ride or favours on the course, but we were taught more than enough for us all to pass comfortably. (This was also the case for all course modules).
The second part of the course was tree felling. You are taught “out in the wilds” about ten miles past the arse hole of nowhere! So you will need to budget in travelling money on top of your course fees. The forest we went to past some of the most breath taking scenery in Wales, which made up for the remoteness and the snow! I can remember after Chris had explained to us and demonstrated the cuts and how to fell trees and hazards etc. As I did my first cut I remember thinking “what am I doing here?” I did make a complete mess of it and thought Oh crap, but Chris was great and reassuring and good humoured and patiently showed me where I had gone wrong! At the end of the two weeks I felt really at ease and confident in my work. I’m not going to analyse every part of the course or it may take six weeks to read. The rest of the course was brilliant, value for money and delivered by Andrew and Chris who are two of the most knowledgeable instructors I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They were good humoured and always up for a bit of banter while staying focused on getting you through the course. I did struggle on the climbing course getting up the trees using ropes. This was in part due to being not as fit as I could have been and an old climbing injury. After thinking it was all over for me and through Chris’s best efforts I couldn’t get up the tree. I was gutted to say the least. After a sleepless night and feeling very sorry for myself I turned up to find both Chris and Andrew (who had rearranged his day to be there), waiting who said “I’m going to spend the morning with you and get you up those trees” which he did and I did. From a personal perspective it meant so much to me and was a massive relief for me to progress to the end of the course. From a professional prospective it reaffirmed what I already thought, - Proclimber are something special, they always go the extra mile and nothing was ever a problem. Problems no matter big or small was “sorted” no debate waffle or flannel just sorted! ASAP always with the customer in mind. What became apparent was everyone involved with Proclimber appreciated what individuals had invested in doing this course both financially and personally.
Apart from the practical stuff you will also attend ISA days or theory days, where you will learn Arboriculture theory. These are really really interesting and you will learn so much about Arboriculture. The first couple were taken by Andrew in Abergorlech, and the rest were run by Nick. Both these guys know so much about trees and tree work. If I knew what they had both forgotten I would be an outstanding tree surgeon? I often thought that if you cut them they would have rings instead of bone as they both live and breathe trees. I didn’t ever ask a question that was unanswered which is unusual today with so many so called experts out there. As for Abergorlech what can I say it is stunningly beautiful, with its rolling hills and winding rivers? It was friendly and welcoming village with a little bit of everything for people who love the outdoors. The mountain bike courses locally are world renowned and best of all the local pub was most welcoming. We spent many a happy night in the Black Lion and the beer and food were exceptional. Our accommodation during the course was amazing bordering on luxurious. To end I would like to say the Proclimber Course was brilliant and great value for money. It is run by professional thoughtful and very nice people who are focused on delivering a course that is second to none. Well done all keep up the good work and I wish you all the best for the future. If anyone wants to contact me you can do that through our website www.yeehaaoutdoor.co.uk many thanks Alyn English
"The fastrack course with proclimber is easily the best money I've ever
invested. It's how education/training should be; fast paced, exciting,
practical and hands-on. More importantly taught by skilled and passionate
people who's enthusiasm for, and love of tree care can't help but rub off on
you. I can't recommend it enough."
"the best money I've spent since my penis enlargement!"
"it was a choice between paying my girlfriends kidnappers or the fast track
I'll miss my girlfriend but the proclimber course was well worth it."