How did you get started in the industry? I began as an apprentice gardener with Barnsley Council, which at the time had a very good apprentice programme with lots of in-house training as well as day release at a local college. It provided me with a good overall grounding in amenity horticulture. I very nearly left the industry in the early days after being offered an electrical apprenticeship with the NCB, at double my wage. I made the right decision to stay.
What advice would you give to others starting out? Don’t be frightened of starting at the bottom or doing the dirty jobs. In the early days I spent many hours pushing a brush and hand weeding shrub beds. Grab every opportunity to receive training. My parks manager urged me to leave and study at Askham Bryan College — probably the best move I made.
What does your typical day involve? I spend 60 per cent of my time in the office on the administration needed in a fast-moving business. This time of year tends to be spent on figures, working out budgets for next year. The remaining 40 per cent is spent out meeting customers with members of the sales team. Green-tech’s business has changed over the years. Landscaping used to be very quiet in the summer months but it’s fast becoming a year-round industry.
What is the best aspect of your job? I love the team atmosphere at Green-tech and the feeling generally within the industry. After a tough few years during the recession there seems to be the start of an upturn. Enquiries are up from both landscape architects and landscape contractors.
And the worst? Roadworks and traffic hold-ups.