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The Royal Parks apprenticeship program Grow, which combines on the job training with recognised qualifications, is now open for applications.

The highly successful Royal Parks apprenticeship programme has been running for over fifty years, with many of its graduates going on to secure permanent employment within the Royal Parks, and in other high profile locations such as Buckingham Palace and Crystal Palace Football Club.

As apprentice gardeners, the successful applicants will be paid a salary to gain hands on experience and earn recognised qualifications over a 2-3 year period. They will be based at one of London's Royal Parks five days a week, and released every six weeks for three days to attend Pershore College to complete their Intermediate Apprenticeship in Horticulture.

Royal Parks apprentice Daniel Saul, 20, who graduates this summer, has a lot to celebrate after landing his dream job as a gardener at Buckingham Palace. He said:

"It's one of those jobs that you apply for but you think you'll never get. I'll never forget that moment when they rang me to say I was successful. They said I was the youngest of the candidates but the most knowledgeable, and I can definitely attribute that to the Royal Parks apprenticeship."

Eight apprentices will graduate in July 2014 from Grow but up to 30 apprentices will be part of the scheme at any one time. Three of this year's graduates will continue working for the Royal Parks.

Colin Buttery, The Royal Park's Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Parks said:

"Our apprenticeship programme has a proven track record of securing permanent jobs for people. Participants of the scheme have gone on to work for a number of prestigious locations including the Royal Parks, and in some cases even setting up their own business. It is the perfect launch pad for a successful career in horticulture."

The deadline for application is 18 June.

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