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Abingdon & Witney College



  •  College:      Abingdon & Witney College
  •  Division:     Oxon & Bucks Division
  •  Name:         Daniel Payne
  •  Course:       Level 3 Diploma Countryside Management

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Pictured: Daniel Payne


What the lecturer said; Dan has always been keen on the practical sessions and entered each subject with an attitude of intending to excel. He took particular care and dedicated time to the Forestry and Arboricultural sessions, showing improvement each time.

He has returned to do a Level 3 course after realising early that the job he was employed in was not for him. Making the commitment to going back into full time study was a big step and one which he was unsure of at the start of term. After completing the course I am sure he will be an asset to any company that employs him. His enthusiasm and attitude towards work and continued learning would be of benefit to his work colleagues and peers.

His Practical forestry skills have included Chainsaw use and felling to which he has achieved a level 2 NPTC licence to practice award and gained a good background to take him further. Dan has also overcome an initial fear of heights and is working towards a Distinction in the climbing module as well as hoping to achieve the NPTC licence to practice for climbing and aerial rescue.

What Dan said; “I am very pleased to have been awarded the RFS Silky Fox Handsaw Award and it has confirmed that I made the right decision with coming back to full-time study in a subject that I have an active interest in.

In particular, I have really enjoyed the felling and really get a buzz from working in the woods. I have also found that I can make a living from climbing trees and it is something that I may consider in the future when I have built up some more experience and finished my Level 3 Course”.




  •  College:     Abingdon & Witney College
  •  Division:    Oxon & Bucks Division
  •  Name:       Conner Doe
  •  Course:      Level 2 Diploma Countryside Management

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Pictured: Connor Doe


What the lecturers said; Conner started the course with no real idea of what he was interested in and where he wanted to go after the year. He has been keen to try all aspect of the countryside course but quickly found an interest in the Chainsaw modules. He is always willing to stay behind and help fix saws as well as continue his interest and learning whilst outside of College and his attitude towards felling was highly critical of himself with a need to aim for perfection.

Conner asked specifically for a tree related placement where he showed an immense amount of commitment to getting to the company on time despite very early starts to travel on public transport.
His chainsaw skills have been both safe and inventive showing a good aptitude for carving with some good, artistic flair. His report came back as a being highly employable and he has shown that he is capable of completing other tasks that he finds less interesting to a high standard and with as much enthusiasm as ones he does enjoy.

This attribute is commendable with level 2 students and his attitude to work will serve him well in the future. He has now applied and got a place on a Level 3 course specifically in Arboriculture.

What Conner said; “I have really enjoyed my time here at College and spending time with likeminded students has given me the confidence to know that I want to remain studying for Forestry and Tree surgery work.

My Lecturers have been very supportive and helped me decide what I want to do next. I really enjoyed opperating chainsaws and in particular chainsaw carving and felling trees. I am going to do a Level 3 course at Moulton College in September and looking forward to climbing and learning more about trees.” 

What the college said: The Value of this award to both the College network and the students studying for a career in the industry is becoming more highly regarded each year.

For the RFS to acknowledge people who have chosen to study full time means a great deal to the College staff and shows that the industry beyond studying is investing in the future of its next intake of employees.

The recognition the students get from the award also gives them some confidence when applying for jobs and shows employers that they have shown a good interest and aptitude for the chosen study area.