Congratulations on a triple distinction result Tommy, how did you start out and what was your previous experience?
I left school and successfully completed my A-level studies in environmental studies, biology, geography, and geology. Horticulture was not an option! After completing my A-levels, I came to work for local company Potters Resort. I started working in the restaurant, but I was very fortunate to be mentored by Andrew Broom, company owner, he encouraged me to go for a role in the grounds team as he could see my potential for the apprenticeship vacancy. The company nurtured me from day one to go for it, with the training available both in-house and through Central YMCA. I signed up to the apprenticeship program and worked alongside the existing apprentice. My plant knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject was noted by the team and my supervisor and mentor Vinny, who inspired me to learn as much as possible. He had a very interesting career and supported me throughout my training.
Best thing about the horticulture industry?
I love working with plants, so job satisfaction, working outside, always learning new skills, and recognition when visitors and staff comment on how great the site looks. My skills tutor has given me great career advice and I'm excited for what the future holds.
Worst thing about horticulture industry?
There isn't anything, I like working outside and I’m happy amongst the plants, working on my own or as part of the team.
Best thing about being a trainee apprentice?
Opportunities to learn from others, not being expected to know everything as people are encouraging you to learn on the job. No student debt, and I'm now able to consider setting up my own business.
Advice to anyone considering apprenticeship in horticulture?
Go for it! Good pay and opportunities and it's such an interesting and enjoyable career.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Maybe up a tree! I'm aiming to get my Climbing and Felling Certificates through Potters. I've just completed a Cherry Picker licence so we can take on the maintenance of trees on site. I'm also considering a career in Forestry, Trees and Timber or Conservation sector, also I think I'd like to set up my own Garden Maintenance business, maybe even to train up an apprentice one day! It's all about job satisfaction for me. My tutor, Melody, is encouraging me to enter the young horticulturalist of the year competition next year so watch this space.