Demand for arborists in Whittlesea

Arborists Terry Maycock, Ben Neal, Michael Robertson, Rob Fleskins, John Alcatraz at the Wollert National Tree Day event. (Supplied)

Whittlesea’s arborists showcased their tree caring skills during a National Tree Day planting event in Wollert late last month.

The arborists, employed by Citywide, took part in the planting day at Northside park on Sunday, July 31, demonstrating the weird and wonderful perks of being a tree worker.

Their work includes maintaining tree safety in residential areas, powerline clearance and twice annual pruning of all residential trees.

Their attendance at the event coincided with the launch of Citywide’s ‘arborists don’t grow on trees’ campaign aimed at highlighting the growing shortage of arborists in Australia.

According to Citywide, Whittlesea is facing a major shortage of skilled arborists.

The organisation said the arborist profession ranks in the top occupations in national shortage on the National Skills Commission’s Priority Skills list.

” Secondary and tertiary education students considering future career paths or job seekers looking for their first (or next) trade job are not aware of the value and role that urban trees play in the community and the environment. Mention sparkies, plumbing or carpentry to the average person on the street and they immediately know what that role involves,” Citywide said.

“By contrast, the job title ‘arborist’ is generally met with confusion and, at best, a vague idea that it has something to do with trees.

“Being a certified Arborist or tree care worker are challenging but immensely rewarding roles that are in extremely high demand. However, as more governments and municipal authorities mandate the planting of millions more urban trees and dramatically expanding tree canopy coverage in our communities, the simple question is: Has anyone responsible for the introduction of trees into the landscape thought about who will continue to care for them in the future?”

Citywide said developers hand over more than 5000 trees to council each year, while council plants over 1100 trees annually.