Meet the couple who run a Dales forestry and bushcraft training school that sees ex-students hired all over the world

Supporting people in achieving their goals has been the key to a North Yorkshire couple’s continued success for the past decade.

Demelza and her husband Phil teach students forestry and other outdoor skills

Demelza Lowe and her husband Phil run the training organisation Lowe Maintenance, based in Settle, that provides the ‘tickets’ or qualifications that are needed by those working largely in an outdoor environment from chainsawing to tree climbing and quad bike handling to pesticide spraying.

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Lowe Maintenance was amongst the recent recipients of a Yorkshire Post Rural Award for their work that now attracts not just local North Yorkshire people looking to expand their careers, but those from all around the UK.

Their 'graduates' are sought after in New Zealand, Australia and Canada

Demelza said their work has always been about the people they are helping achieve things first and foremost. That’s what gives her the buzz.

“It has always been about the students for Phil and I. We like the result you get from working with an individual and how you see that person come on in the timeframe you have with them.

“That was how it was when I first started training young students at Craven College and it is just as true today. I trained a young lady who is currently working over in New Zealand and people like Sam Moorhouse who now has the great Hesper Skyr Icelandic yoghurt business from the family farm at Bell Busk.

“I’m so proud seeing people achieve and doing well after getting through the courses. They help with their confidence and ability to succeed wherever they go.”

Demelza said the courses she and Phil deliver are universal.

“When those who take our courses go to the likes of Australia, New Zealand, Canada or anywhere around the world, one look at the qualification on the visa will sometimes be enough for that person to be hired as they get off the plane.

“We have always offered the courses approved by the National Proficiency Testing Council which combined with City & Guilds. They have a very real standing in history and the UK’s City & Guilds qualifications are recognised throughout the world.”

Chainsaw Maintenance and Felling Small Trees are courses that are run every month, such is the demand, but Demelza said she is also aware that there are always new sectors that can come about.

“We like to be proactive and provide courses that are to the benefit of our customers and that means being industry-ready, whatever industry sector we are working with. This week we have been running a new course in tree climbing that is more tailored to ecologists.

“Our first group are those who are conducting bat surveys and inspections and we have another group booked in before Christmas.

“It is a course that previously would have been the same whether we had run it for arborists or ecologists, but they come at it from different viewpoints so it made sense to have something more specific for ecologists.”

Demelza said she has found that the various lockdowns and restrictions suffered by those more specifically in the entertainment industry have brought about another new sector of people looking to further their skillsets.

“Tree climbing has become more relevant than ever during the pandemic. We have seen people who were used to rigging up lights and working with ropes and pulleys on stage for concerts, outdoor events and in theatres going for their tree climbing and chainsaw tickets, so that they could carry on working. We even had someone who is involved with the music in the new series of Darling Buds of May.”