Case study: Josephine Hedger

The Institute’s Marketing Manager, Hester McQueen, interviewed Josephine Hedger for 2019 International Women’s Day to highlight women excelling in our profession. Help us encourage people to join our profession and make it more diverse by joining the #ILookLikeAForester campaign. Find out how you can get involved >>

Josephine Hedger, founder of Arbor Venture Tree Care and Arbor Venture Training

Tell us a bit about yourself

I have worked in arboriculture since 2002 and have been running a tree care company since 2005 as well as a training company, where I am a Lantra Instructor and NPTC Assessor.

Why did you choose arboriculture?

My father worked in forestry and ran sawmills so I was exposed to chainsaws and timber at an early age. I decided to train in horticulture and, while at college, learned about arboriculture, which appealed as I was keen to do an outside physical job.

What is your greatest achievement?

Running a successful tree care business since 2005. I have won the International Tree Climbing Championship three times and the European Championship four times.

How can we encourage women to join our profession?

By showing women that they are not unusual in this industry. Highlighting women who are proud of what they do and work hard will encourage others to start their career.

What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

Show a diverse workforce in advertising and articles, but not draw attention to it directly. If people constantly see a diverse workforce, they will subconsciously become more open to new working environments. Manufacturers of equipment should show their products being used by actual workers, rather than models. It is your personality and character that makes you succeed in this career, rather than your gender or if you have a disability.

How can we support women in arboriculture and forestry?

Encourage manufacturers to make products that will help women in their daily work, for example clothing and personal protective equipment. Small-sized chainsaw boots seem to be a big issue! Change how articles are written in magazines or social media – some are aimed directly at men.

Women across the profession will be posting images on social media of themselves on International Women’s Day to illustrate their work and the inspiring role they play. Follow the conversation #ILookLikeAForester