First announced in February to mark the launch of its new TOPSOIL Academy online learning resource, the British Sugar TOPSOIL £500 Training Bursary has now been awarded to Richard Brusaferro, a former NHS Senior Theatre Assistant and recent career-changer.
Richard, 51, who has worked at Ipswich Hospital for the past 14 years, has always been a keen amateur gardener and, wanting to make his passion his career, he took a part-time course in Practical Horticulture at Suffolk Rural College. Having subsequently taken the plunge and left the NHS, he is now employed on a private estate near Ipswich as a gardener, putting his knowledge to practical use and building his wider experience of the horticulture sector.
“Completing the initial course at Suffolk Rural College and then being awarded the TOPSOIL bursary has given me the confidence to follow my heart and change careers” Richard explained. “I have taken quite a salary cut to follow my dream and so the bursary will allow me to fast-track my learning journey by studying for the RHS Level 2 Certificate in Practical Horticulture from September. I can’t wait!”
National TOPSOIL Manager at British Sugar, Andy Spetch, is delighted that Richard is grasping this opportunity with both hands: “The training bursary selection panel was impressed by Richard’s obvious passion for horticulture and his determination to follow his dream and work in the sector, despite the financial implications of his decision. We unanimously decided that the bursary could make all the difference to Richard’s chances of building a successful career within an acceptable timeframe.”
In addition to the financial contribution to Richard’s horticultural training, mentoring will be an important element of the support the TOPSOIL Training Bursary will provide. Andy Spetch said: “Richard is now working in an entirely different sector and I hope that I will be able to assist him by introducing him to others working in landscaping and horticulture and making him aware of industry exhibitions and organisations that will be of help to him as part of professional development. I wish him every success.”
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