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: Liam Bartlett
Course/apprenticeship: Landscape Operative
- How did you first come into the industry?
My boss’s son was in the same year as me at school, so it was quite easy to contact my boss to have a chat with him about coming into the industry.
- Can you tell us a bit about your apprenticeship?
The company name is Bushy Business Ltd, which covers the entire industry such as maintenance, soft landscaping and hard landscaping.
- What do you do?
As I’m an apprentice I mainly do the labouring side of things at work but over time I’ve been given the opportunity to do different skills such as laying slabs, doing digger work (I’ve got my digger and dumper licence) and do other decorative things. I started with this company on 1 October 2022.
- How big is the company?
Our company has 32 people including office staff. We have roughly 12 people working on the maintenance side of things, four people on the soft landscaping, 11 people on the hard landscaping and five office staff. The company takes on a lot of jobs; the maintenance team goes to two to three houses a day and four to five different teams plus the hard landscapers take on the large jobs which can take up to seven to 13 months. Offering good clean hard and soft landscaping projects plus the maintenance team does a really good job to keep your gardens to the best standard it can possibly be.
- What type of clients do you cater for?
Most, if not all, of our clients are high end with high income and roughly half of our clients work from home so they get to enjoy the working process and what Bushy Business provides.
- Why choose an apprenticeship?
I think it’s better in the long run for your career because it shows dedication and wanting to learn in the industry. It shows future employers that you have had good training as well.
- What is your weekly schedule like?
My weekly schedule is working four days a week Monday to Thursday and then I go to Merrist Wood College on a Friday. When the college has holidays and is closed, I will go in to work on a Friday.
- What are the biggest challenges that you’re experiencing at the moment?
I have had a few big challenges such as getting my digger and dumper licence and learning on a 13t machine when the highest I ever been on before that was 3t digger.
- What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Getting my digger and dumper licence and also completing the course for a C.A.T and jennie.
- What are your plans for the future?
Fingers crossed but in the future I’m hoping to start my own business and make it as successful as it can be.
- If you had any words of wisdom for the future generations joining the industry, what would they be?
It’s 100% worth coming into this industry. There is a nice, good bunch of people who are great to work with but also to have a laugh with as well. It’s very nice in the summer as you’re outside all day in the lovely beaming hot sun. In the winter it does get cold, but you can just wear many layers and once you start working you do generally get warm.
“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