As we step into spring and once again remember why we love working outdoors, it's an opportune time to think about nurturing growth and new talent and the upcoming celebration of all things Apprenticeships. National Apprenticeship Week 2015 allows us to do just that.
The week-long celebration runs from March 9th to 13th and the college will be out and about promoting the benefits of Apprenticeships to employers and celebrating the success and achievements of our Apprentice learners around the country.
At Myerscough, our Horticulture Apprenticeship provision covers the full spectrum of pathways from Sportsturf Groundsmanship and Greenkeeping through to Grounds Maintenance, Landscaping, Parks/Gardens/Greenspaces and Production. The college works extensively with employers of all sizes from SMEs through to large national and international brands to develop and deliver Apprenticeship training solutions to their bespoke requirements.
Our unique workbased delivery model and innovative use of emerging learning technology ensures our training is current and tailored to meet individual learner and workplace needs. We offer a full managed recruitment service to any employers looking to take their first steps into Apprenticeships with support at every step of the way from our dedicated Employer Services Team.
Myerscough College has a clear vision for Apprenticeship provision;
- To highlight their value and quality to public and private sector enterprises and promote the benefits of Apprenticeships to a wider business audience.
- To drive the creation of increased Apprenticeship opportunities in the land based and leisure sectors on a local, regional and national basis.
- To assist employers looking to recruit an apprentice by offering a free recruitment service focused on matching individual learner and employer aspirations and needs.
- To deliver high quality Apprenticeships, as part of a blended learning model, focused towards meeting individual learner and employer needs and delivering a valued learning experience.
- To develop advanced level skills that will improve business performance, Myerscough College is committed to ensuring quality Apprenticeship provision as the way forward for training new and existing staff within the workplace.
Here we focus on some case studies of our Apprentices and employers across our Horticulture provision.
EMPLOYER IN FOCUS
Horticulture Apprentices flourish at Oldham Council
Myerscough College has a longstanding relationship with Oldham Council, delivering Apprenticeships and other training solutions to over 20 current employees.
The college also supports the council with other initiatives aimed at up-skilling and work preparation with local unemployed residents.
We recently caught up with four Apprentices at Alexandra Park currently undertaking their Advanced Level 3 Horticulture Apprenticeship in Parks, Gardens and Green Spaces within the park, being visited regularly by Workbased Tutor David Hilton.
David comments; "It's always great to see Apprentices advance on from Intermediate to Advanced level schemes. They can build on the skills and practical knowledge and take things to the next level, helping further their careers and enabling them to to provide so much more to their employers. It's hard sometimes for young people to juggle work and study and Oldham Council allow this to naturally happen, providing Apprentices with high levels of support and time to complete the knowledge elements of the programme."
Meet the Advanced Apprentices at Oldham Council...
Jonathan is aged 25 and from Rochdale. He has worked for the council for 3 years. Before this he did agency work and had various temporary roles in the area.
Jonathan has completed his Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship and is now part way through the advanced programme in Parks, Gardens and Green Spaces.
Jonathan comments; "For me the best thing about being on an Apprenticeship is learning new skills, gaining a proper qualification and getting paid all at the same time. The skills you learn make getting a job much easier, and allow you to progress in your career. I would really recommend them to other young people looking at a career in Horticulture."
Matthew is aged 23 from Oldham, and has worked within Parks at Oldham Council for 3 years, having completed Level 2 and now working towards Level 3.
Matthew initially had a one year placement as part of Future Jobs Fund and then progressed onto the Apprenticeship.
Matthew explains why he wanted to work in Horticulture/Parks saying; "Having done agency work, I really enjoyed working outdoors in all weathers so decided to take things further. Now 3 years into my career I have gained loads of knowledge, new skills and new experiences. I have also been able to progress within the council, and do a job I am really proud of. I would really recommend Apprenticeships to other young people who want to earn a wage and train at the same time. They really help you set out on a true career."
Scott is aged 28 from Oldham, been at the council for 3 years.
Scott secured his Apprenticeship after a placement in the council as part of the Future Jobs Fund initiative in partnership with Myerscough College, aiming to give the long term unemployed a kick start to a career, and provide industry skills training and employability skills.
Scott added to the above quote; "Be prepared to work hard, listen and learn from other team members and management. Attend any training you can as it always comes in handy in the future."
Leonel is aged 25 from Oldham, and has now been at council for 3 years having previously done a range of temporary roles mainly in Warehousing.
He initially gained a training placement with the council in partnership with Myerscough College and Job Centre Plus. He then managed to secure a temporary contract and then successfully applied for the Apprenticeship.
Leonel explains the best and worst part of being an Apprentice, saying; "The best part for me is working as part of a team, gaining new friends and colleagues. It's good to support each other and to be able to work in such a large variety of settings within the parks. I love working outside and I am learning new things almost every day. Out college tutor David Hilton has been fantastic, supporting and encouraging us throughout and to achieve a real, recognised qualification is amazing. The hardest part has been adapting to some of the learning as part of the Apprenticeship. A lot of people think it's only about practical work, but there is also as much study in preparing for the knowledge questions we have to answer. For example, we have had to learn 60 plant identifications in both English and Latin which has been a real challenge but one I am relishing."
Oldham Council Principal Greenspace Manager, Euey Madden comments on the impact Apprenticeships, and also the wider partnership work with Myerscough College saying; "As a Council we are committed to giving opportunities to young people in the area. Our work with Myerscough College dates back decades and it's about working together to provide a high quality learning environment, that allows not only the achievement of a qualification, but to enhance a wider range of technical and life skills."
James Kirkham at St Annes Old Links Golf Club
We caught up with Apprentice Greenkeeper James Kirkham, aged 17 from Lytham St Annes on a frosty February morning at St Annes Old Links Golf Club. James reflects on his own career choices and why he has chosen to be an Apprentice Greenkeeper.
James said; "I left school with the intention of entering the engineering sector and eventually secured a college course. It became obvious almost straight away that I had made the wrong choice. I saw a job advertised for an Apprentice at the club and applied. I am now partway through my Intermediate Apprenticeship in Greenkeeping and so far am really enjoying it. There is a good mix of practical and taught work with lots of research required into the various knowledge units of the scheme. I get lots of support at work and, even better, I earn a wage at the same time."
"The Apprenticeship suits me perfectly as I love being outdoors and working in sometimes extreme weather conditions, and I also enjoy the early starts. I can see the importance of maintaining the course to the highest possible standards, and trying my best at all times. The standards are very high here at St Annes Old Links and it's great to work as part of a team. I would recommend them to anyone looking to get into this industry. In the future I would like to progress within my role and then who knows, the opportunities in Greenkeeping are massive."
James works under the supervision of Course Manager Stuart Hogg, at the course situated between Blackpool and Lytham St Annes.
Stuart explains the clubs ethos behind recruiting Apprentices saying; "It's great that we can give a young person the opportunity to learn the trade of Greenkeeping. It's a very practical job that is not for the faint heated. We are open to all weathers here and it's essential that all our team members play a part in preparing and maintaining the course to the high standards our members require. James has just come through his first winter here at St Annes Old Links and so far all is going well as he takes his first step on the Greenkeeping career ladder. The Myerscough College delivery model suits us, as the majority of training is delivered on the job without the need for constant day release. We have a say on the curriculum and receive regular updates on the progress of our Apprentice."
Apprentices building skills with Foxcroft Landscapes
We recently caught up with two Landscaping Apprentices Tom and George who work for Foxcroft Landscapes based in Bolton. They were putting the finishing touches to a school project in Barnoldswick, Lancashire under the direction of business partner Simon Ford.
Both are supported in the workplace with regular visits from Workbased Tutor James Fare and also supplement this with specific industry training days at college. James comments; "Both Tom and George are showing real promise. It's clear they are prepared to work hard to not only achieve the qualifications within the Apprenticeship but to do a good job for the customers of Foxcroft Landscapes. It's great to see their development and the level of work they can achieve increase throughout the programme."
Business partner Simon Ford is no stranger to Myerscough College or Apprenticeships having been a former Horticulture student at the college, and also a previous Apprentice with Foxcroft Landscapes under the supervision of Steven Foxcroft. After a spell with another company, Simon returned and is now a partner in the successful business which services projects across the North West of England.
Meet the Ap prentices at Foxcroft Landscapes
Tom is 17 from Tonge Moor, Bolton and is partway through his Intermediate Apprenticeship in Horticulture/Landscaping with Myerscough College.
Tom comments on what he enjoys about the Apprenticeship saying; "What I love about the Apprenticeship is that its hands on with real work and not in a classroom. Every day is different and there is always a new challenge to overcome. I have lots of support at work, not only from the college but also our employer who always tries to push my work standard to the next level. Another bonus is that we get a wage whilst we learn. So far the programme has been fantastic and coming into college for training days also allows us to meet the other Apprentices, share ideas and maybe try things we couldn't at work."
George is 17 from Egerton, Bolton and is also working towards his Intermediate Apprenticeship in Horticulture/Landscaping.
We asked George how he came to get the Apprenticeship and what advice he would give to other young people looking for an opportunity. George comments; "I saw the opportunity with Foxcroft on the National Apprenticeships website and then spoke to Myerscough College. After applying, I had an interview, a brief trial and then Foxcroft took me on. Myerscough tutor James came to see me and I then started on the Apprenticeship. The work is harder than I thought, but so far all is going well. For me the best bit is right at the end of a job when things are handed over to the customers. Seeing the job well done really gives me great satisfaction and as I get more experienced I will be able to develop, and do more complex tasks."
Myerscough College delivers a wide range of Apprenticeships, workbased and industry training solutions to employers across the country. For more information please contact the Employer Services team on 01995 642255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org