Riekie got his break in the industry in 1978 when he was taken on as a landscape trainee with the then Milton Keynes Development Corporation. The three-year apprenticeship involved working on different aspects of the landscape in Milton Keynes, including nursery and forestry work. He studied for, and gained, the City & Guilds Stage 2 certificate in horticulture on day-release.
The motivation for working in horticulture was that Riekie had always wanted to work outdoors. He explains: When I started working in Milton Keynes I found that working with trees interested me the most so I developed my career towards that.
In terms of advice for industry novices, Riekie’s advise is: Get up and go to work, even on days when you don’t feel like it — it’s a good habit to get into. Don’t be embarrassed to show enthusiasm or interest in what you do. Participate in any training and courses you can to better yourself.
He aims to continue in his current role while it is continuing to evolve: I want to concentrate on helping develop
the landscape of Milton Keynes. I
have been through the establishment and thinning stages — we are now entering what I think is the redefining stage, where we take a good look at what works and what doesn’t, instead of accepting everything for what it is.
As for the future, Riekie says the Parks Trust is looking at some exciting proposals for the expansion of Milton Keynes and its green space. He says: We want to broaden our expertise and help design and manage these new areas as well as those we already look after.