Everyone can support the coppice sector by purchasing coppice products but you may want to provide more practical support by volunteering or choosing a career in coppicing and it is a great time to get involved with plenty of opportunity to have ago.
Volunteers can provide a valuable contribution by helping to restore coppice woodlands or to monitor the improvements to wildlife. Conservation organisations often hold volunteer days which include coppice management, it is important that these organisations understand the needs of coppice workers as the woodlands are restored to ensure the woods can be managed sustainably in the future. There are a number of good examples where volunteers have restored coppice woodlands to a suitable standard to allow coppice workers to take over the management. Restoration of coppice woodlands is time consuming and hard work and requires years of support and investment before becoming viable. Many coppice workers welcome the opportunity of volunteer help and hold volunteer work. Coppice workers can get insurance cover from a number of different sources to cover volunteer support depending on the type of volunteering offered.
The National Coppice Apprenticeship Scheme
The National Coppice Apprenticeship Scheme is a partnership between Small Woods and the Bill Hogarth MBE Memorial Apprenticeship Trust.
The apprenticeship programme is a three year diploma which includes chainsaw training, learning a wide range of crafts, health and safety, working within an established coppice business and developing a new business. Apprentices are sponsored by coppice businesses with supplementary financial support in the form of a bursary. The apprenticeship period may be reduced for people with some experience or prior learning.
Each apprentice will work with an experienced coppice worker for three years, with the aim that they gradually become more independent. The programme is accredited as a Lifelong Learning Diploma at level 3.
The first step in applying for the National Coppice Apprenticeship Scheme is to come on the Week in the Woods course. This is held in a different location each year and provides participants with a range of taster workshops in coppicing and green wood crafts. It is an accredited course and is the entry module for the full apprenticeship.