On 02 October 2018 idverde’s first cohort of apprentices from the company’s London branches came together at The Regent’s Park to review how the first six months of their apprenticeship has gone and what they have learned so far.
They were joined by several apprentices who have started their apprenticeships with idverde more recently, along with members of idverde’s Management Team, including CEO Doug Graham, Head of Learning & Development, Elaine Callaghan, Regional Managing Director, Richard Burton, and Head of QHSE, Simon Foley, who were all keen to give encouragement to the apprentices and to see how they were progressing so far.
The apprentices are studying for Level 2 qualifications in Horticulture or Landscaping under the new Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard through idverde’s Performance Campus. The Performance Campus was launched in February 2018 to deliver idverde’s in-house training and apprenticeship offerings. Currently, 35 idverde colleagues are enrolled on the course, with learning centres based in London and other parts of the country.
The London-based cohort of 19 apprentices is learning under idverde’s dedicated Learning and Development Specialist, Damon Lee, with support from Element Training who provide the Functional Skills (Maths & English) aspects of the course.
The apprentices are a diverse group: some already have many years’ experience of horticulture, but are undertaking the apprenticeship to back this up with a formal qualification; others had limited or no horticultural knowledge prior to starting their apprenticeship six-months’ ago.
For their six-month assessment, the apprentices were asked to prepare a short presentation outlining their experience in horticulture and landscaping and how they had found the course so far. For many, this was their first experience of public speaking, but all overcame their nerves and delivered informative and engaging presentations.
It was evident that all have made significant achievements in their apprenticeship to date. These range from learning to identify over 40 plants by their Latin names, to understanding soil pH testing, discovering a passion for propagation which has extended to growing on a number of plants from cuttings at home, and a marked improvement in English, which for some learners is not their first language.
Apparent in all the apprentices was a passion for horticulture and landscaping, and a growing confidence in themselves and their knowledge. All were keen to continue to develop their skills and progress onto further qualifications as they continue their career, with many citing a Head Gardener role as their goal, while some have already set their sights on becoming idverde’s Directors of the future.
Following the presentations, idverde’s Learning and Development Specialist, Damon Lee, congratulated the apprentices, saying: “Well done to you all on your presentations, you should be extremely pleased with how you performed. You all came through the nerves and delivered your presentations with professionalism, which was achieved by all your hard work in your preparation. You made me the proudest person in the room.”
Head of Learning and Development, Elaine Callaghan, added: “I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all our apprentices describe their development journey so far under the new Performance Campus, and it was nice to meet those who have just started their journey with us and their reason for taking on an apprenticeship. Everyone contributed to the presentations, which I know was a daunting experience for the majority, but certainly one that each and every one of them should be proud of.
“What was really apparent for me throughout the day was the level of support they provided to each other, their passion for this industry, and their desire to progress and to be the best they can be.”
idverde’s CEO Doug Graham, summed up the day, saying: “Our apprentice colleagues all made great contributions in sharing their experience to date. It was a credit to everyone involved to see such development and team collaboration in such a short space of time. Well done to all of you!”