Held at Liverpool Town Hall, the annual awards reward achievements among staff who look after around 170 sites across 1400 hectares of green space in the city. Olympic bronze -medallist Steve Smith also gave a motivational speech at the event.
The 11 young people who are set to begin a 12-month pre-apprenticeship programme with Glendale Liverpool received certificates from city council cabinet member for employment and skills councillor Nick Small. The pre-apprenticeship programme is open to 16 and 17-year-old ‘NEET’ young people who are not in education, employment or training.
Employees who were in the same position as the pre-apprentices last year and have now secured an extended apprenticeship programme, run in association with Myerscough College, were also honoured, as well as those moving on to an advanced programme and those employees who have completed the five year programme, and have now secured permanent positions at Glendale Liverpool.
Graduating apprentice Adam Ryan said: "Coming from a disadvantaged background, I had nothing really going for me. When I jumped into this job it kept me on the straight and narrow, it sorted me out and gave me confidence. It turned me into a man.
"Now I’m a mentor for the younger apprentices. The young lad I’ve got now reminds me of myself a little bit when I first started but he’s really taken to it and done a lot in his first year. You look at them and you feel proud that they’ve done so well.
"Without the guidance of other people within Glendale I don’t think I would have turned out as well. It has given me confidence, I’ve turned my whole life around."
Glendale Liverpool manager Peter Cosgrove said he was proud of every team member.
"They all deserve this recognition and a huge round of applause for their commitment, dedication and hard work. Over the years we have worked hard to instil a sense of civic pride in our workforce and we now have a team of employees who are proud to look after the city's green spaces and are passionate about what they do. I'd like to congratulate them all on a fantastic achievement."
Cosgrove added: "Seeing these young people grow, develop and become successful in their careers has been incredible. They amaze me every day and I'm proud to call them Glendale employees."
City council cabinet member for neighbourhoods Steve Munby, opened the ceremony, saying that Liverpool’s 15-year working relationship with Glendale had become "an excellent partnership" and the two organisations shared the desire to motivate and train young people.
Glendale Managed Services managing director Andy Corcoran recently spoke to Horticulture Week about concerns that local authority grounds maintenance contracts put innovation and training of staff at risk.
He said long apprenticeships with proper horticultural training were "of critical importance to the industry".