Continuing our series on idverde’s apprentices, past and present, Charnwood-based Scott Barrowcliff tells us about his experience as a Level 2 Horticulture apprentice since joining the company in 2017.
Scott Barrowcliff, based in Charnwood
Why did you decide to do this Apprenticeship?
When I joined idverde I was a seasonal ground maintenance operative. Before joining idverde I was a fully qualified tree surgeon and climber for 8 years, working all over the country and staying away.
I joined idverde as I wanted a change in job role as the owner of the company who I working for was retiring. I emailed the local idverde contract manager and applied for a seasonal mowing job.
At the end of the season the apprenticeship position came up on the staff notice board, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn about horticulture and gain a qualification and relevant skills. I already have arboriculture and countryside management qualifications and I am glad to say that I was successful at the interview stage.
Tell us about a recent day at work
In the summer I run my own mowing round with a seasonal worker which is on a two-week cycle. I use a Toro lt f3000 ride-on flail mower that fits on a flatbed trailer and high side panel van.
Starting work at 7am I pick up the keys for the van and make sure I have tubs full of water/chemicals to be able to spray out any obstacles on the round, and that the mower is full of fuel. Then I go to site and start mowing with my back-up colleague, and help him finish off the back-up (strim, mow, blow), and spray the site if needed.
In winter I work with two full-time colleagues and work from 7:30am to 3:15pm. We have two vans for the winter: one panel van with the tools/equipment and the other van with a tipper towing a chipper. we go to site, carry out a risk assessment and sort out what we need to do on the job. Shrub beds and hedges are trimmed and arisings put through the chipper. Areas are then cleared up and blown, then we move on to the next site.
What’s an interesting fact you’ve learned during your Apprenticeship so far?
I have learnt a lot from the tutor about horticulture and the different practical aspects of the job, for example plant ID, propagation and soil science. I have enjoyed visiting the Saltex show and looking at the different pieces of equipment and new ideas and how different ideas can help with the job that we carry out.
What are the best things about being an Apprentice?
There are a lot of assignments that you have to do, but the good things are getting to go to places like Kew Gardens and Saltex show.
Why would you recommend people take up an Apprenticeship with idverde?
I would recommend you do the apprenticeship as you can learn so much that you didn’t know before. You get a qualification at the end of it, and within work’s time. My tutor is very knowledgeable in all aspects of horticulture and nothing is too much trouble for him.
What advice would you give to anyone considering doing an Apprenticeship?
It’s only two years of your life, and if you get the chance I would recommend you do it as you can learn so much more about horticulture and the jobs within idverde. You also get to learn the right way to do the work.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I will have been with the company for four years later this year. I would like to stay with idverde and progress within the teams and become Team Leader when opportunities arise. Or perhaps become expert on different pieces of machinery that other depots haven’t got and travel to different idverde contracts across the UK so that it makes the jobs safer for all of the colleagues.
What does Scott’s tutor say?
Scott has developed his skills and knowledge considerably during the Apprenticeship. He has taken all opportunities to further himself, taking advantage of courses such as obtaining a trailer licence and PA1/PA6 spraying. This all makes him a very valuable member of the team at Charnwood.