College courses focus on pressing issues

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COLLEGE courses at one of the county’s main arboriculture training facilities are now taking into account two pressing issues.

The programme of study for the subject at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus is being tailored to cover the ash dieback tree disease and problems caused by flooding.

The ash tree is a native British species that is under threat from the rotting disease which started in Poland.

Countryside management students are currently undertaking a hedgerow survey of the estate to assess the implications it could have on hedgerow wildlife, such as the tree Sparrow.

David Wear, Programme Area Leader for Plants and Environment at Kirkley Hall, said: “Our lecturing teams are constantly adapting courses to cover current environmental issues in the land-based sector, such as Ash dieback, to ensure that students have current knowledge and the experience needed to enter employment.

“We are looking out for the disease but have not as yet found any confirmed cases at the Kirkley Hall estate. Most trees have lost their leaves now and no new cases, unless well advanced, will be evident until the spring.”

As part of their course, agriculture students study soil management which is of high importance for good crop production and drainage – a key element in responding to wet weather.

Northumberland College’s land-based courses can lead to outdoor careers within estates management and forestry, such as arborist, tree surgeon or tree officer.

An open event about them is taking place at the Kirkley Hall campus on Wednesday between 4.30pm and 7pm.

There will also be one in College Road, Ashington, on Tuesday from 4.30pm to 7pm for those interested in any of the courses run at that campus. These include hair and beauty, art and design, early years and travel and tourism.