Stephen Westmore MICFor, Lockhart Garratt Ltd

How has chartered status helped your career?

Chartered status has helped with my career progression as a consultant. Becoming chartered was an early aspiration and has helped guide my career path. Furthermore, going through the PME process has helped me identify some of my key strengths as well as several weaknesses. This has enabled me to tailor my CPD to strengthen those areas where my skills or expertise may be lacking while reinforcing the positive aspects of my professional expertise. Becoming chartered was also an integral part of progressing from an Assistant Consultant to Consultant.

How does being a member of the Institute help you do your job better?

Whenever I work on a project I am conscious of the Institute’s Code of Ethics. This ensures that I always act with integrity and professionally. I felt that I had high standards before becoming chartered, but since I have been more aware of the specific requirements of the Institute and have adopted it into my daily work. I genuinely feel that my quality of work has improved and I always want to uphold the standards expected of me by the Institute.

Why is the Institute of Chartered Foresters membership important to you?

Being chartered is exceptionally important as it demonstrates the highest level of achievement and recognition within the industry. This is not only recognised by peers but gives members of the public the comfort that they are dealing with a trusted professional. Being a professional member also promotes the highest standards within the industry and ensures that both arboriculture and forestry are recognised as a professional area of expertise. These industries are not always recognised by other professionals and one of the main ways of promoting the industry is by constantly striving for improvements and by supporting the chartered status. Only by more people becoming Professional Members will it achieve recognition in other sectors.

What motivated you to become chartered?

I wanted to become chartered for several reasons. When I first decided that arboriculture was the career I wanted to pursue I set myself a far-reaching target to become chartered. I didn’t attach any specific timeline to achieving this but had it as a definite milestone along my career path. Once I started with Lockhart Garratt Ltd it became clear that it was an expectation that staff would work towards achieving professional recognition. The combination of these two factors meant I was not only personally motivated but supported by my colleagues to achieve professional membership of the ICF.

Why did you choose the Institute of Chartered Foresters?

I am a member of the ICF because it is one of the national bodies that support arboriculturists and foresters. It is the only professional body that offers Chartered Arboriculturist status and I wanted to support this accolade. Furthermore, the Institute hosts excellent training opportunities and they have worked hard, and continue to work towards, improving the industry.

What is the best thing you’ve done through your ICF membership?

The best thing I have done through becoming a Professional Member is acting as a ‘buddy’ for some of my colleagues going through the PME process over the past couple of years. As a company, we encourage staff to go through the process, but achieving chartered status seems to have invigorated a big push from staff to become Chartered. Being able to help them has been extremely rewarding and has meant I can make sure they do not make the same mistakes I made, particularly with their work records. I am hoping that an internal ‘buddy’ system will be adopted by the company as it has proved successful so far and has been well received by staff.