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Rodbaston College hosts arboriculture masterclass event  

January 2024

Group of learners and employers at Arboriculture masterclass at Rodbaston College

South Staffordshire College was delighted to welcome Phil Wade and Mark Vestrey from Sorbus International to Rodbaston College to deliver a product masterclass for arboriculture learners and professionals within the industry.

Sorbus Internatinal offers a huge range of specialist products for arboriculture, forestry, utilities, horticulture, landscaping and grounds maintenance in both the UK and overseas.

Phil Wade, who is a Director at Sorbus International delivered a comprehensive presentation incorporating the IML resistance drill, PICUS3 tomography device, and a whole host of other specialist tree management products.

Technical and Facilities Manager, Mark Vestrey, delivered a hands-on practical demonstration of the PICUS 3 Sonic Tomograph and IML Resistance Drill. A Sonic Tomograph is used to draw conclusions about a tree’s inner structure and assess the health of the tree. The IML Resistance drill offers another form of decay detection, not only for trees but also utility poles and historic ships! Learners studying Arboriculture at Rodbaston College, and employers working within the sector, were able to have a go at using this cutting-edge technology under the expert supervision of the Sorbus team.

Dan Ereira, who is currently a level 3-year 2 arboriculture student at Rodbaston College attended the event with his peers. He said “I attended the event to see Sorbus International who have a very good reputation in the arb field. I wanted to expand my knowledge and see what they have to offer to that. I have filled up my notebook, so I will be going over that later. It’s been an enlightening experience finding out about different techniques that they’re using to fight pests and diseases and recording the progress of diseases within trees. It was really really interesting!”.

Employers who attended the event were also very complementary about their experience at the event. Craig Watkins, Direct Works Manager from Wolverhampton City Council who attended the event said “I’d like to thank South Staffs College (Rodbaston) for inviting myself and colleagues to Sorbus Int. event on specialist equipment and tree health management. The presentations and demonstrations were informative and presented by knowledgeable and helpful staff. I think it’s great that the college could showcase current advances in tree health technology within the industry. In particular, it offered a valuable free learning insight for the students as they venture into the world of Arboricultural consultancy and tree management”.

Rob from Rob Keyzor Tree Surgeons & Consultants Ltd said “Regarding the Sorbus event, I can say that it was a well organised event that brought together consultants, contractors and students to view the latest technology in tree decay detection. It was particularly satisfying to see the new generation of arborists not just discussing chainsaws but fully embracing the technology and all the potential it can bring”.

If you’d like to find out more about arboriculture courses offered at Rodbaston College please visit: or book your place to attend our next open day to come and meet our tutors by visiting: