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Rooted in success: From arborist trainee to thriving entrepreneur

By 20 February, 2024February 29th, 2024No Comments

Jabeen, an experienced arborist, wearing personal protective equipment while climbing a tree.

20 February 2024 — Jabeen’s journey into the world of arboriculture is a testament to her determination and the transformative power of the Arborist Ground Worker Training Program.

In 2019, Jabeen stumbled upon the program (delivered by our founding partner, The Career Foundation) through an online ad, while searching for wildlife conservation jobs. She was intrigued by the idea of a career in tree care.

She had seen that the proportion of women entering skilled trades in Ontario was steadily increasing, reflecting a shift towards greater gender diversity in traditionally male-dominated industries. (Note that this trend is expected to continue over the next decade, driven by efforts to promote inclusivity, dismantle stereotypes, and provide more accessible pathways for women to enter and succeed in the skilled trades).

At the outset of the Arborist Ground Worker Training program, Jabeen felt overwhelmed by the prospect of learning a new field. However, she quickly fell in love with arboriculture as she delved into the intricacies of tree science and the art of chainsaw operation.

Embracing the hands-on learning curve

Each day was a hands-on experience, from sharpening and maintaining chainsaws to felling trees. The program not only provided technical skills but also valuable insights into the importance of body care and ergonomics.

After completing her training, staff supported Jabeen with securing a full-time role in the arboriculture field. Eventually, she decided to enrol in the Level 1 Arborist Apprenticeship program at Humber College to expand her skills and potential career options.

Jabeen the arborist, wearing personal protective equipment while climbing a tree to add a hawk nest. Building a vision: a business model rooted in conservation

Jabeen has since advanced to a senior climber position and leveraged her diverse set of skills to launch her own company, Raven Tree Care and Wildlife Preservation Services.

“Raven Tree Care started out as a simple idea: save the trees to save the animals,” says Jabeen. “Trees are living organisms, and also the home of so many insects, birds, and mammals.”

Jabeen adds that her business is unique because she takes time to educate her clients about wildlife preservation and coexistence theory. Over time, she has expanded her business to include two other graduates of the Arborist Ground Worker Training Program.

“We have continued to further our education and our standing in the arboriculture industry by completing our apprenticeship, taking additional training courses, and now taking on teaching roles,” says Jabeen. She has also been invited to speak to some of the latest students from the Arborist Ground Worker Training Program.

Lessons learned and words of wisdom for aspiring arborists

Reflecting on her career, Jabeen emphasizes that she felt fully prepared for a career in tree care after completing the Arborist program at The Career Foundation. “The instructors, who were experienced tree workers themselves, provided valuable insights into the day-to-day realities of the job,” says Jabeen. “The five weeks of training flew by, but I gained valuable skills and experience each and every day.”

She adds, “Arboriculture is not just about technical skills; it’s about how smoothly a team operates. We put our backs into it every day!”

For those considering the Arborist program, Jabeen offers some sage advice: Be prepared for hard, physically demanding work. At the same time, be prepared to work with incredible people that inspire and support you daily.