Article originally printed The Australian Arbor Age – arborage.com.au
Written by our very own Rob Buick
Robert is a Business Development Manager with Arbortim Australia (RTO 3562) and VTIO committee member. He writes about the value of industry associations such as the VTIO and the symbiotic relationship it has with its members.
Joining the VTIO
All things are connected and an industry membership association like the VTIO provide fertile conditions for exchanging ideas and promoting best practice in arboriculture. I arrived at Arbortrim in early 2014, my seventh training organisation over the last 20 plus years and by far the most fascinating. I brought with me a particular interest in educating people about trees and our natural environment. In the 1990s, I studied a Bachelor of Education in Environmental Science and Biology and a Graduate Certificate of Natural Resource Management. I also spent time supervising vegetation management crews along Melbourne’s bayside costal vegetation strip.
In 2014, Arbortrim was already a VTIO sponsor and my first introduction to the VTIO was through Arborcamp. The value of the VTIO and those that contribute to it was evident, so I volunteered to join the Organisation’s Committee. I had experienced other industry associations before, however, I was not prepared for the level of genuine passion that VTIO leadership and its members held for their industry and the commitment displayed for nurturing members to develop themselves as arborists through education.
Benefits of VTIO membership
Information and opportunities for professional development
Membership in a trade association like VTIO means immediate access to any news or developments that affect your business and the industry. Outside of the usual communication of members to each other, associations generally provide newsletters, email updates and informative resources that help its members stay on top of recent developments in their field. Arbortrim’s participation in VTIO’s Committee of Management provides immediate and regular access to industry news and events and our students benefit from membership updates and activities.
This is the most common and most obvious benefit of joining a trade association such as the VTIO. In every industry, who you know matters, and trade associations are filled with potential contacts, clients and partners who can help your business move to the next level. They provide a forum for like-minded individuals to come together to make connections and identify opportunities that may not otherwise be possible. Trade events such as VTIO’s Arborcamp as well as other seminars and presentations throughout the year provide opportunities to interact with a wide range of industry representatives and connect directly with customers.
Certification and accreditation
In addition to the usual training and education provided by professional associations, many organisations provide certifications and licensing programs that are not available to non-members. Not only do these certifications make for better practices in the industry, some are an absolute necessity for a business to compete. The certifications and licenses available in trade organisations provide a level of prestige and reliability in the minds of clients and customers. VTIO members can obtain certification of their participation in professional development activities providing valuable inclusions to the resumes of developing arborists.
The Victorian Tree Climbing Championships is another prominent industry event which recognises outstanding achievement in a range of tree climbing pursuits. The growing popularity of the VTCC demonstrates the value that the industry places on the development of technical arboriculture skills.
Continued education and development is crucial in getting to the top of any industry. If your company is already a leader in the arboriculture field, education is a key to remaining on top. Professional associations such as VTIO hold events with seminars, workshops and classes that help members to learn and grow in their profession. Even outside of official events, members have constant opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and mentorship that allow members to share experience and knowledge. The VTIO’s objectives align naturally with Arbortrim’s. We are both promoting the knowledge and education of arboriculture within the industry.
Influence to promote best practice
One of the key benefits of joining a trade association is the ability to support the mission of the organisation and possibly influence legislation that affects the industry. The combined resources of the members of an association can be used to lobby lawmakers and sway public opinion more positively towards the goals of the association.
Arbortrim’s association with VTIO provides us with opportunities to add our voice to improving best practice through regulation and education. One such example is Arboriculture Australia’s Industry Licence system. The development of the Australian arborist Industry Licence is designed to better regulate the industry though training qualifications and professional development activity.
Any line of work has a specific set of best practices that is vital to efficient and quality work. Especially for anyone new to the industry, membership in a trade association is vital to learning these practices and performing the best work possible. One of the critical benefits of Arbortrim’s association with VTIO over the last five years has been to utilise industry feedback for improving our training services. Arbortrim’s VTIO membership provides ongoing opportunities to consult with industry leaders to ensure that our arboriculture qualifications are designed to deliver best practice outcomes that align with current industry standards.
Aside from all of the professional benefits that are available through trade associations such as VTIO, they also provide an opportunity for members to build friendships and personal relationships that can last a lifetime. Arbortrim’s partnership with VTIO has given myself and the rest of our team opportunities to get to know hundreds of fantastic people that share our commitment to supporting the arboriculture industry through education and training.
The Arbortrim of today is not the same as it was when we took custodianship of the training service in early 2014. Our organisation has developed into a national leader of arboriculture training services through strategic investment and a focus on quality outcomes for our customers. Our sponsorship and collaboration with the VTIO over the last five years has been a clear factor in our success. The VTIO and Arbortrim will continue to learn from each other and thrive for the betterment of the arboriculture community.
If you would like to learn more about the VTIO and the benefits of becoming a member visit the VTIO’s website – http://vtio.org.au/membership-forms/