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Earn while you learn: Apprentice Gardener opportunities at Trinity

Trinity College is recruiting two Apprentice Gardeners to join the team managing the 36-acre estate and learn a broad spectrum of horticultural skills.

Apprentices ‘earn while they learn’, with regular classes at King’s College alongside their peers from other Colleges and visits to Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

Members of the gardening team. Photo: Karen Wells

After satisfactorily completing the two-year apprenticeship, gardeners receive the Level 2 Horticultural Landscape Operative qualification.

Tom Hooijenga, Trinity’s Head Gardener, said:

At Trinity we are fortunate to have an amazing combination of formal planted beds in the courts and walks, an old wildflower meadow, wonderful mature trees, woodland areas, and of course the glorious Backs – all in a remarkable sixteenth- and seventeenth-century setting. This provides a varied landscape in which to learn key horticultural skills.

The apprentice gardeners’ scheme is ideal for anyone passionate about gardening who wishes to acquire a new range of horticultural skills, whether they are starting out or wishing to change careers.

Each apprentice is managed and mentored by a Senior Gardener; the 12-member Gardens’ Team works across Trinity’s grounds.

Oscar Sparrowhawk, who is coming to the end of his apprenticeship at Trinity, said his most formative experience had been learning to work as a team.

I became an apprentice gardener because I’m interested in plants and having a career where I work outdoors. You work Monday to Friday at the gardens undergoing practical training and every one or two weeks you have a day of in-person training with a training provider that will set coursework for you to do to put into a portfolio.

Apprentices Harriet Bradnock and Oscar Sparrowhawk. Photo: Karen Wells

Former apprentice gardener Harriet Bradnock achieved her Level 2 Horticultural Landscape Operative qualification while at Trinity. She said:

I was able to develop a broad knowledge and varied skillset – from plant identification skills to using new tools and machinery.

As an apprentice, you are part of the team just like the other gardeners, learning skills on the job. As well as learning whilst you work, sessions at King’s with all the horticultural apprentices from across the University build on theory and skills too.

Ms Bradnock, who studied geography as an undergraduate at Fitzwilliam College, is now pursuing a Master’s in Water Science at the University of Oxford. ‘I will see where this leads me, but I am sure I will always have a passion for plants and for horticulture!’ she said.

You can find out more including how to apply for the Apprentice Gardener roles.

Apprentice Gardener – Trinity College Cambridge

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