Coppice Apprenticeships

A Big Thank You to the Ernest Cook Trust!
The Ernest Cook Trust, to mark their Diamond Jubilee year, have agreed to fund Coppice Apprenticeship in perpetuity, starting in 2012.  This will mean that the National Coppice Apprenticeship Scheme will always have one fully funded apprentice!

This is fantastic news for the coppice industry, and our thanks go to the Trustees of the Ernest Cook Trust for supporting us in our mission to preserve the traditional rural craft of coppicing well into the future. See

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 scheme, and the Coppice Diploma that carries his name, were developed by BHMAT with inspiration from the life and work of the late Cumbria coppice merchant Bill Hogarth. Bill learned his trade from his father and worked as a coppice merchant in Cumbria for 56 years, He was passionate in passing on his skills, so earning himself an MBE in 1995 for services to the coppice industry.

The apprenticeship programme is a three year diploma which includes chainsaw training, learning a wide range of crafts, heath 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.

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.

Ruth Goodfellow, a graduate of the scheme (pictured) was recently featured on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. When asked what she gets out of the coppice workers’ lifestyle she said

“Fresh air, living and working according to the weather and seasons, sleeping outdoors, becoming familiar with the world of wood and woodlands, discovering the physical potential of the human body – to name but a few; I wouldn’t swap this lifestyle for anything…..This life is good!”

James was the first graduate of the Bill Hogarth Coppice Diploma and has now set up his own business in Cumbria:

“It has shown me something that I didn’t even know existed. I was doing a dead-end job and now I am doing something that I love: working with nature in the outdoors.”

James Mitchell – self-employed coppice worker

How to get involved?

The first step in applying for the National Coppice Apprenticeship Scheme is to come on a Recruitment Event. This is held in a different location each year and provides participants with a range of taster workshops in coppicing and green wood crafts.

For more information on apprenticeships contact Richard Thomason