TWO hundred year old trees planted by convicts at the Port Arthur site have been the unusual classroom setting for apprentice arborists.
In partnership with the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA), TasTAFE delivered a five-day block of arboriculture training at the site, with participants working with 200-year-old oak trees, blue gums and several other species, which form part of site’s history.
All the trees are heritage listed on the Isle of the Dead and several other areas across the site.
The apprentices and arborists worked on a range of skills including tree pruning, aerial rescue skills and advanced climbing techniques.
The work was overseen by Gareath Plummer, PAHSMA’s Grounds and Gardens Crew Supervisor, and members of his team.
As well as providing training support, they also ensured the heritage values of the trees were maintained in the process.
TasTAFE Education Manager, Primary Industries, Rachel Holland, said that while it was a small industry, there had been a significant increase in interest in arboriculture training in recent years.
“The number of people undertaking TasTAFE’s arboriculture training have doubled from around 14 to 30 in the past eighteen months,’’ Ms Holland said.
“There are strong job opportunities in the industry and it has recently been listed as one of the top 10 industries with a skills shortage in Australia.
“This training at Port Arthur is a fantastic opportunity for both apprentices and experienced industry professionals to learn the latest industry techniques in a real-life setting, while working with trees of an age that they would not normally be exposed to.’’