After a very frantic few weeks organising the apprentice graduation ceremony, it was wonderful to finally welcome The Royal Parks' staff, The Royal Parks Guild, contractors, apprentices and other industry bigwigs through the doors of the Lambeth Garden Museum for The Royal Parks' annual Apprentices' Celebration.
The Garden Museum is one of my favourite spots in London and even the torrential rain, which prevented us from taking photos in the beautiful gardens didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the apprentices and excitement at the possibility of winning one of The Royal Park Guild's prestigious awards.
Royal Parks apprentices past and present gathered to eat, drink and merrily receive the awards and final certificates, which acknowledged their hard work and dedication. It was great to meet the apprentices who have already successfully passed through the scheme and see them mixing with the current apprentices. Being able to meet those who have gone on to get good jobs within the horticultural industry is a great motivator to the current students. Also, it means those of us who are working hard to get people through the scheme can feel good about sending outstanding horticulturalists out into the competitive job market.
From this autumn apprentices will be able to benefit from a new style, flexible apprenticeship which gives them up to five years in which to complete the programme at their own pace. Hopefully, the more flexible scheme will attract more dedicated plant lovers keen to keep the dream green!