As a small child Lennon Sharplin loved to climb the enormous gum tree that sat in his family’s front yard in Mount Wellington.
“It was huge. From the age of about four onwards I used to climb it. My brother and I even set up a pulley system so we could eat food up there during the day.”
Twenty years later, he rediscovered his childhood passion when he answered a job advertisement for tree work.
“I didn’t really know arboriculture existed,” he admits. “But I was absolutely hooked by the tree climbing side of it straight away. It reminded me of playing when I was a kid, and if I could play for a job then I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Lennon now works for Franklin Trees as a land clearing foreman, overseeing several other arborists on large scale jobs which can involve diggers, cranes and even helicopters.
“It’s really exciting to work on those big jobs. It gets your energy levels up and the adrenaline going. It is high risk though so you all have to keep talking and look out for each other. As a foreman I try and set a good culture where everyone feels comfortable and trusts one another.”
Over the past three years Lennon has worked to improve his own knowledge and skills by studying Level 4 advanced papers in arboriculture through Primary ITO.
Topics such as plant identification, fertilisers, tree health and growth, chainsaw work, tree climbing, pruning and felling have all proved useful in Lennon’s daily work life.
He now only has two papers left to go until he completes his qualification and is keen to pass his knowledge onto his colleagues. “I have a passion for teaching as well as trees, so I’ll enjoy passing on what I’ve learnt to the other guys.
“One of the highlights for me was learning about correct pruning techniques. I’m always interested in the health of the tree so I found that topic fascinating. I even raced home one day to show my Dad something I’d learnt because he has a green thumb too.”
Lennon speaks highly of his Primary ITO training advisor, Mark, saying he was passionate about arboriculture and has always encouraged him to complete assignments and papers “in the nicest possible way”.
Looking back, Lennon is happy to have discovered this industry and says arboriculture tends to attract “really cool people”.
“You’ve definitely got to be keen to work outside and be enthusiastic because there’s always something to do and it’s always different. You have to be a team player as well and be willing to learn, because there is so much to learn.”