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Gye Draney - Horticulture

I've been in the arboriculture industry for 13 years and climbing for 10. I've been teaching the Certificate III in Arboriculture at CIT for six years.

Gye Draney
Gye Draney, Teacher

I used to rock climb and abseil and teach students in outdoor education. I did window cleaning at heights with my abseiling knowledge for a while, but one of my mates was an arborist, and that’s how I decided to get into the industry.

To be an arborist, you've got to love the industry, you have to have a good level of fitness, you have to be outgoing and have a passion for trees, and you have to love working at heights - I think you have to be a little bit crazy!

A lot of people don't realise how challenging the work is. You are often working in really confined spaces, solving challenging and complex problems. For example, following a storm, there are some really complex situations to deal with. It's challenging and often a bit dangerous.

Canberra is a great place for an arborist because we have some really significant trees here, such as the Lone Pine Gallipoli memorial tree at the Australian War Memorial and the tree collection at ANU. Being the bush capital, there are so many trees, which provides a lot of work. The ACT Government holds significant tree registers and is very proactive about tree care, which opens up lots of doors for us.

I really love teaching and sharing my knowledge of the industry. With the certificate III training at CIT, you're with people for a good length of time, so you get to really see the students' development. The students learn the whole industry, not just particular jobs. They learn things like basic pruning, tree rescue and cable and bracing to stabilise trees and they get to know people in the industry, which is really important. 

The focus of the course, though, is on climbing. There is a lot to know about getting around a tree, it's very physical work. The CIT course offers really practical training, which I pride myself on. There's not a lot of class time, it's about getting out there and doing the job.