Me & My Job - Rachael Bulmer, Royal Parks apprentice, Hyde Park

Rachael Bulmer, Royal Parks apprentice, Hyde Park - photo: Cabriscombe
Rachael Bulmer, Royal Parks apprentice, Hyde Park - photo: Cabriscombe

How did you get started?

I worked as a chef for 10 years and for three of those I was manning a stall at Borough Market selling veg, which I still do.

Customers were always asking "how do I grow this?" and I thought it was about time I learned the answers for myself. Also I've always lived in a city and was suffering a bit from what I call "urban poverty". I went to the Royal Parks website and found the apprenticeship, which was exactly what I was looking for.

What does your typical day involve?

I'm a first-year apprentice and started my course in September. Four days a week I work in Hyde Park for the contractor Enterprise, and one day I week I attend Capel Manor College in Regent's Park. I arrive at 7.30am, we select our tools and go to a particular area like the Rose Garden or the Victorian border. Then we might be clearing leaves, deadheading, rose pruning or hand weeding. One of the elaborate jobs we do is constructing a web of cotton and sticks to keep the sparrows and squirrels off the beds.

What is the best part of your job?

I like the fact that there is no hierarchy. For example, when we litter pick everyone does it - we work as a team.

What is the worst part of your job?

I guess when it's cold, wet and windy, but I'm quite philosophical about it.

What part of the apprenticeship have you enjoyed the most so far?

The RHS course - I'm just at the beginning of my horticultural learning and it's great to cover so many areas and have the support of our tutor.

What piece of kit can't you do without?

Waterproofs, thermals, scarf and gloves at the moment.

What do you do in your spare time?

I don't have much to be honest. I get up at 5am every morning and work six days a week.


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