Andy Pember is ringing the change, having just completed a two-year apprenticeship at King's Heath Horticultural College in Birmingham. Ringing the career change is nothing new for the apprentice at Quadron, who has been building up for his National Certificate in Horticulture.
Pember was 36 years old before he finally followed a gut instinct that was coaxing him into a new career. The switch to horticulture came in 1995, when he was taken on as a seasonal landscape operative for the Birmingham area.
He showed a keen aptitude for the operational side of the business and this led to a full-time position as a grounds maintenance operative. By 2007 the peals of change were hailing the start of apprenticeship training at King's Heath. For a man keen to improve his skills, one day a week at college was a dream.
Pember learned about mowers and tractors, marking out sports pitches, working on elevated platforms and hard landscaping tasks such as bricklaying and building water features. He now reviews the development of the newer Quadron rookies keen to follow in his footsteps.
"During his apprenticeship Andy has shown a tremendous commitment to his personal development and an unquenchable thirst for horticultural knowledge," say the colleagues who entered Pember for this award.
"He is already in charge of his own team, has risen to the challenge of his new duties and has forged excellent relationships with clients and his team members. He is destined for a management position."
So more change is in store for Pember, but before management beckons he is boning up on all the changes required to usher in the most environmentally friendly working practices. One of his main workplace hobbyhorses is sustainability, so when it came to designating "biodiversity champion" for the company in Birmingham, Pember had to be that person.
City & Guilds NPTC Land-based industries are very diverse and each sector needs a qualified workforce with a comprehensive set of skills. City & Guilds NPTC is about recognising skill and achievement in the rural industries through a system of credible and recognised qualifications.