A former green keeper is taking his career in a new direction as an apprentice with an award-winning landscape and garden design business.
Jackson Gardner is the third apprentice to join the team at J&S Scapes, which specialises in landscaping and design projects for private clients.
The Whitchurch-based company, which has won awards at Chelsea, Grand Designs Live and the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), designs and delivers schemes ranging from small town gardens to large country estates.
Jackson, the newest member of the team, is now learning on the job under the guidance of Managing Director, Jeremy Pugh, while studying one day a week at Berkshire College of Agriculture on an apprenticeship delivered by Activate Enterprise.
The 20-year-old said: “I had been working as a green keeper at a golf course since leaving school and was keen to progress, but there just didn’t seem to be the opportunities. I had an interest in horticulture and design, so when I saw this apprenticeship I was keen to go for it.
“While an apprenticeship is an entry level job, you know that the work you are putting in to gain relevant qualifications will pay off in the longer term. I knew that this was the time to invest in my career.
“I am really enjoying the work at J&S Scapes. I get real satisfaction from seeing a space transformed and it is inspiring to work with the team and learn from them. Meanwhile I am developing an understanding of the theory behind the practical aspects of the job at college. I am looking forward to building my career with the company, under the guidance of Jeremy.”
Jackson is completing a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Horticulture with a particular focus on landscaping.
Jeremy said: “Jackson has only been with us for a short while but is bringing a real enthusiasm and has a great attitude. We have found that apprenticeships can be a good route when it comes to recruiting new talent, particularly for those like Jackson who have spent time deciding what they want to do as a future career and need the opportunities to get started.
“The Level 3 apprenticeship develops supervisory as well as technical skills, which means it helps to build the capacity of our business as we plan for the future. Teamwork is an essential part of any business, and apprenticeships add a new dynamic by combining fresh ideas and approaches with existing skills and expertise.”
Activate Enterprise is the apprenticeship delivery partner of Berkshire College of Agriculture, Banbury and Bicester College, City of Oxford College and Reading College. The company works across the Thames Valley with more than 1,000 businesses every year.
Find out more at www.activate-enterprise.co.uk