As part of the Elite Hotels strategy to encourage more younger people in to the hospitality industries, a plan was set to have at least one apprentice in each department within each of its five properties.
Here at Ashdown Park an opportunity arose during the early part of 2013 to take on an apprentice gardener. We liaised with the local agricultural college, Plumpton College near Lewes, East Sussex and, with their help, we posted the position on a number of web sites. Thankfully there was a lot of interest and within a short time interviews were set up and the task of choosing the right candidate began.
We were delighted to offer the apprenticeship to Nick, who started with us on 30th September 2013. After three months of getting used to the new work environment he started his NVQ level 2 horticultural training on a day release basis. Nick spent four days a week learning here at Ashdown Park with one day spent at college to learn the theory.
I have found it very rewarding seeing Nick start his career in gardening just like I did many, many years ago. Nick has turned out to be a valuable member of the department and has started to look after certain areas of the grounds. One thing Nick is particular good at is cutting very straight lines when cutting the putting and croquet lawns!
In our line of work I feel there is always something new to learn and every day is an opportunity to gain new experiences. I'm delighted to say that Nick passed his apprenticeship with flying colours and has gained a Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture; he has also been taken on full time as part of the gardening team.
During the spring of 2016 we will be looking at taking on a new apprentice, so hopefully it will be the start of another career in a very rewarding profession.
Kevin Sweet, Estate Manager