THE Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) has launched a new 'technical membership' category.

ICF members voted to introduce the classification in a bid to support and recognise an under-represented cohort of skilled arboriculturists and foresters working in roles that require high levels of skill, competence and professionalism.

Unlike its professional membership, technical membership has no mandatory requirement for a degree-level qualification – applicants are assessed solely on their technical ability. 

Designed to confer a mark of practical experience and professional credibility on those who successfully achieve technical member status, technical membership "will boost respect and recognition from senior colleagues, peers, clients, and stakeholders".

Dr Stuart Glen, member services director at the ICF, said: “The Institute firmly believes that technical membership will elevate the reputation of these technical roles within the sector, outwith the sector and with the wider public.

"The introduction of a technical membership category will ultimately raise professional standards, and serve to address any gaps in the skills and professional development needs of this part of the sector.”

For the past six months, an initial pilot project has seen a small cohort of associate members trial the technical membership entry process, the standard route to technical member status.

Two successful applicants, Anna Leveridge and Abigail Parravani, both of Forestry England, were invited to Shenmore Lodge in Hereford to receive their technical member award certificates from president of the ICF, Geraint Richard, and executive director Louise Simpson. 

The presentation party also included Andrew Sowerby, vice president of the ICF, and Ben Robinson, lead planning manager at Forestry England.

Louise Simpson said: “It has been wonderful to be here in Shenmore for the launch of our new technical membership category, and to celebrate the success of our first Technical Members." 

Geraint Richards added: “Technical membership offers a further opportunity for relevant members of the arboriculture and forestry workforce to hone their career paths with ongoing support from the Institute, allowing them to actively demonstrate the competence and professionalism they exhibit in their daily work." 

The new Technical membership category was originally conceived by past president of the ICF, Alastair Sandels, and was subsequently developed through the formation of a dedicated working group and ongoing consultations with many sector organisations.

Further details on the ICF’s new technical membership category can be found at: