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The Royal Parks charity is throwing open its doors to this year’s class of new apprentices, offering the chance to train with horticultural experts and help care for London’s precious eight historic Royal Parks.

The Royal Parks have provided a lifeline for Londoners during the coronavirus pandemic, staying open throughout and providing a refuge for locals to take part in daily exercise in beautiful parkland environments.

The parks have never been so important and we’re looking for the class of ‘21 to join a salaried three-year Apprenticeship programme and learn how to help care for these valuable green spaces, for a qualification that will pave the way for a career in horticulture.

The call for applications coincides with the start of National Apprenticeship Week (8-14 February, 2021) and the deadline to apply is 8 March, 2021.

The successful applicants will be based in one of London’s eight Royal Parks for four days a week, and study at Capel Manor College at The Regent’s Park on the remaining day.

On the three-year course, apprentices will work towards the Horticulture and Landscape Operative Trailblazer Standard, which includes modules such as plant identification and soil science.

In their third year they can study for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Level 2 Certificate in Horticulture.

Apprentices will play a key role in managing all horticultural aspects of the Royal Parks, from caring for areas of special scientific interest with nature conservation and habitat management, through to planting the formal flowerbed displays – including the famous bedding outside Buckingham Palace which features scarlet geraniums grown to match the guards’ tunics.

Selina Tan made the move from an office-based career in photo editing to horticulture. She is in her second year of the apprenticeship, based at Richmond Park.

“I had fallen out of love with my office job. I wanted to spend more time outdoors which led me to volunteering in a community garden. I kept thinking about how much I wanted to do more of this and had a lightbulb moment – and applied to the scheme.

“The course involves theory and practical lessons - covering everything from pests to lawn-mowing to business management.

“Having three years to learn and explore is a great opportunity and gives you the time to try new things and embrace the unique environment you get to work in. Each park has so much to offer so always stay curious and inquisitive and you will get a lot out of it.”

This scheme, which has run since the 1960s, has seen many former students go on to secure permanent employment with The Royal Parks in managerial positions, or at other prestigious locations such as Kew Gardens and Buckingham Palace.

Dennis Clarke, Head of Park Services at The Royal Parks, said: “These past months have shown more than ever before how valuable spending time in nature and in open spaces is to our wellbeing – and the Royal Parks have played an important role in providing the green spaces that are helping Londoners during the Covid pandemic.

“Over the next weeks, we are excited to invite applications for another cohort of apprentices to join our skilled teams and learn valuable skills for a great outdoor career that will help keep our parks at their best for everyone to enjoy.

“We’re looking for candidates who have a passion for horticulture, are committed to excellence, are great team players and take a mature and responsible approach to their work. If this sounds like you, then please get in touch about sending us your application. This is a unique opportunity to work in our world-class parks and gain recognised qualifications at the same time.”

Deadline for applications is 8 March, 2021. Apply via:

To watch a video of Richmond Park apprentice, Selina Tan, click here:

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