Careers in Horticulture case study - The landscaper: Jon Christopher

Beaulieu Oaks: Jon Christopher (right) with Plant Style supervisor Tim Phillips - image: © Tim Anderson
Beaulieu Oaks: Jon Christopher (right) with Plant Style supervisor Tim Phillips - image: © Tim Anderson

What are you doing right now?

I’m an apprentice on a scheme with Plant Style, a landscaping company. I attend Writtle College once a week on Tuesdays and spend the rest of the week working with the Plant Style landscape team at Beaulieu, a new housing development near Chelmsford in Essex. They are responsible for the installation and ongoing maintenance of the many parks and landscaped open spaces that are being created at Beaulieu.

How long will the scheme take?

Plant Style’s scheme takes on apprentices for up to two years, during which you gain a range of horticultural skills and experience to help you reach a supervisory role more quickly. I started in June 2019 and hope to qualify in 2021.

Can you give an example of the work that you carry out?

One project I’m involved with is the creation of the new community gardens at Beaulieu, which will cover 5ha and will include a woodland for wildlife, a community fruit orchard and planting area, as well as formal landscaped areas.

How have you found the apprenticeship so far?

It’s been a truly encouraging programme to be a part of and the experience I get is very relevant for my future. The supervisors who are training me are experienced and know their craft inside out, so it’s been fantastic to learn from them.

I would definitely recommend this programme to other students. I feel like I’m getting the best of both worlds in terms of gaining a formal education but also learning the practical element as well.

I do eventually want to go into horticulture management and being a part of this scheme feels like a step in the right direction.


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