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: Max Mcshee
Course/apprenticeship: Landscape Operative
- How did you first come into the industry?
I wanted to work in construction and liked being outside and didn’t want to be stuck doing one trade so went for landscaping. I found my apprenticeship on the government website and seeing the work they did drew me in as it was very good work.
- Can you tell us a bit about your apprenticeship?
I started in April 2023 at Hillside Landscape Services ltd.
- What do you do?
Hard landscape such as patios, brickwork, fencing, driveways, block paving and occasional soft landscaping such as planting.
- What is involved in your job role?
Helping the team with mixes when needed and bringing material in and help laying when needed.
- How big is the company?
There are eight employees doing a range of roles including senior site managers, junior landscapers, brickies etc (and an apprentice!). We take on two or more jobs going on at one time and as soon as one is finished, we go to straight to the next job, offering hard landscape such as patios, brickwork, fencing, driveways, block paving and occasional soft landscaping such as planting.
- What type of clients do you cater for?
Residential clients. We do large and small scale jobs and projects.
- Why choose an apprenticeship?
I wanted to do a course whilst being paid to work in the industry and learning new skills. I really liked being outside and the idea of working outdoors so I chose landscaping.
- What is your weekly schedule like?
Monday to Thursday 8am-4.30 pm I go to work then I go to Merrist Wood College on Friday 9am-5pm, so it’s easy to balance.
- What are the biggest challenges that you’re experiencing at the moment?
The weather; it’s difficult to work when it’s raining heavily.
- What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Laying sandstone slabs and laying concrete blocks for retaining and block paving driveways.
- What are your plans for the future?
To own my own company in either landscaping or in construction.
- If you had any words of wisdom for the future generations joining the industry, what would they be?
Be prepared for bad weather in winter!
“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