Staff Profile - Georgia Durrant

In the first of our staff profiles we catch up with our lead climber, Georgia.

What made you decide on a career in arboriculture?

The reason why I wanted to get into tree work is because I've never been very academic, I've always been hands-on. My dad was a tree surgeon, so I was always brought up around it. And I liked climbing trees!

Georgia Durrant, COOMBES Lead Climber.

I went to college for two years and did a level three extended Diploma in arboriculture. But there are two ways you can do it, you can either go to college, if you're a bit more academic, you can get your tickets, you can learn the theoretical side. Or you could start straight into tree work. And you can learn it all from a good team and build up your knowledge from there and get your tickets.

I've been working for Coombes for about a year and three months now, it's a really great company, it's really expanding. Everyone that works here is a great laugh. They're very supportive. Coombes has helped me come a long way with my progression and my tickets and my training.

What does an average day look like for you?

My day to day job generally consists of turning up on the site for around 7.30, unloading all the tools, getting all the tools ready for the tasks required for the day, it will then be going down with the team looking at the work that needs to be done. Most days it will be climbing, strimming, cross-cutting, that sort of thing.

With forestry, it's mainly just felling trees, you're just generally doing a gob cut, back cut and letting the tree fall. Sometimes we will do we'll go in when the machines can't get to certain areas. So it's near power lines, it's over a road or something like that.

On the railway, generally on a weekday would be doing a cutback by seven metres from the track from the running rail, or we will be taken down dead, dying or dangerous trees that could potentially cause harm to the railway. On weekends, we'll generally do a possession where the trains aren't running, which means allows us to be able to knock trees down across the track. We don't also just take down trees on the roadway. We also reduce them and shape them and manage the actual sizes of the trees. Instead of just removing it all we actually do tree maintenance.

It's quite a male-dominated industry. But I find women actually get quite a lot of respect from a lot of guys because I can do my job and climb trees. I've learned to get a lot of respect because people will kind of look up to me on the railway and ask me for help. And I can actually give quite a lot of good guidance to them.

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