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Digging into Dreams: An apprentice’s journey in the world of landscaping – Alexander Sutherland

by | 07 Feb 24 | News, Opinion | 0 comments

Taking place between the 5 and 11 February 2024, National Apprenticeship Week highlights the popular alternative to joining the world of work. We teamed up with Merrist Wood College, the 400-acre, multi-award-winning college that specialises in the land-based industries, to find out more.

Name: Alexander Sutherland

Industry: Landscaping

Course/apprenticeship: Landscape Operative

  • How did you first come into the industry?

My older brother did the Horticulture Operative Apprenticeship through Merrist Wood College three years ago. He works in the industry and we both work at Managed Acres together.

  • Can you tell us a bit about your apprenticeship?

I started in July 2023 at Managed Acres Ltd doing landscape and garden maintenance, assisting the team and learning new skills. So far I’ve really enjoyed watching the development of a project and comparing the final outcome to the start of the project.

  • What services do you they offer?

Landscaping and garden maintenance for high end clients. The company has five employees; we always take on enough work so we always have a job to attend to.

  • Why choose an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship provides me with more functional skills that will benefit me greater later on in life.

  • What is your weekly schedule like? 

Monday to Thursday 7:30am-4:45pm onsite and Friday 9am-4:30pm at Merrist Wood College. I find the work life balance really good. As my brother works at the company, we go into work together which is great.

  • What are the biggest challenges that you’re experiencing at the moment?

Weather delaying work.

  • What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Passing my GCSEs with flying colours.

  • What are your plans for the future?

I’d like to own my own business.

  • If you had any words of wisdom for the future generations joining the industry, what would they be?

Your work will pay off so don’t give up.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is an opportunity for the education and skills sector to celebrate the achievements of apprentices around the country and the positive impact they make to communities, businesses, and the wider economy.”

According to the government, an apprenticeship is a paid job where the employee learns and gains valuable experiences. Combining on-site training with classroom based learning, apprenticeships spend on average 20% of their time in a college or university environment, allowing for up to 80% of their time to be used for hands-on, paid experience. Leading to a nationally recognised qualification, apprenticeships continue to grow in popularity.

We teamed up with Merrist Wood College, the 400-acre, multi-award-winning college that specialises in the land-based industries, to find out more.

“Get the best of both worlds: the ability to earn while you learn.” – Merrist Wood College

When becoming an apprentice, you’ll be working for a company – receiving wages, holiday pay, and statutory sick pay, whilst also training or studying for a formal qualification. Merrist Wood College work alongside businesses that provide genuine jobs where apprentices are treated and respected like any other employee. They typically work a minimum of 30 hours a week on a contract that lasts at least 12 months. Programmes usually last for between one to two years and offer a direct route into employment. “Employers are keen to hire people who can hit the ground running,” says Merrist Wood College.

“Apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers: nearly a third of our current apprentices are over the age of 19. So, whatever your age, get in touch to kickstart your career!” – Merrist Wood College

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