Green-fingered apprentices can apply to work on London’s parks

The Royal Parks, custodian of London’s green spaces, is looking for ten apprentices this year.  

The apprentices will work across London’s eight iconic parks, including Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and Kensington Gardens.  

This initiative, designed to nurture budding talent, offers a pathway into the world of gardening and parkland management, regardless of prior experience or age. Unlike some apprenticeship schemes that cater exclusively to school leavers, the Royal Parks’ programme welcomes applicants from all backgrounds, provided they possess a can-do attitude and a passion for gardening.  

“I cannot even put into words how much I’ve learned. It’s really nice to be able to say that about yourself, even at 40 years old.” 

Apprentices who take on the two-year programme will gain a level 2 qualification in horticultural operations, approved by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). They’ll also have the option to extend into a third year for a certificate in practical horticulture.  

Assistant park manager Adam Stoter commented: “Our apprenticeship programme will foster life-long skills in horticulture, to provide a solid foundation for a successful career in this field.” 

Apprentices will enjoy access to the renowned Hyde Park Nursery, responsible for cultivating over 450,000 plants annually for ornamental displays across the Royal Parks.  

Testimonials from current Royal Parks apprentices 

Jay, a 30-year-old apprentice at Kensington Gardens, reflected on his transition from retail to horticulture: “As nature can nurture the planet, it can also nurture your mental state.  

“Working in horticulture allows me to give back to the world and contribute to the green spaces around me.”  

Similarly, 40-year-old Rupert, formerly employed in the hospitality sector, said, “I love education, and I really wanted to be part of parks in general. It’s absolutely amazing for your mental health. 

“I cannot even put into words how much I’ve learned. It’s really nice to be able to say that about yourself, even at 40 years old.” 

Former apprentices have gone on to secure managerial roles within the Royal Parks and prestigious institutions like Kew Gardens and Buckingham Palace. 

Applications for the Royal Parks’ apprenticeship scheme are open until 21 April 2024. 

Royal Parks says, “We welcome all applications but would particularly encourage applications from young people who are from diverse ethnic backgrounds, living with a disability and/or are from low-income households, as we work to create a workforce that is truly representative of the communities we serve.” 

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