How I got started - Ashley Green, managing director, Green Gardens Landscaping

Ashley Green, managing director, Green Gardens Landscaping - photo: Green Gardens Landscaping
Ashley Green, managing director, Green Gardens Landscaping - photo: Green Gardens Landscaping

- How did you break into the industry?

Having lost my job as a garden labourer and been kicked out by my parents, I got in touch with my local advice centre. My support worker there suggested I apply to the homeless charity Crisis for a Changing Lives grant. That enabled me to move into a flat, then with a second grant I bought a laptop and took a National Diploma at Pershore College. With a further grant I bought tools and equipment, and in July last year I set up my own landscaping company. I won the business category of Crisis' Changing Lives Champions in November in recognition of that.

- Who or what was your inspiration?

I'm inspired by all sorts of things - music, film, politics, nature. I also used to enjoy "aquascaping" - creating interesting layouts inside fish-tanks.

- What is the hardest thing you've done?

Getting into the education system. I wasn't switched on at school, and putting that right after 18 can be a struggle - and it would have been harder still without the grants.

- What advice would you give to others starting out?

Grab opportunities with both hands. But before you do that, make sure you want it.

- How do you wind down after a hard day's work?

I don't switch off easily, especially in the beginning or middle of a job. But I do like fishing and motorcycling.

- What does the future hold?

I'm now studying part-time for a degree in landscape architecture at the University of Gloucester. I'd like to follow that with a post-graduate degree and become a chartered member of the Landscape Institute. I want to take it as far as I can and make large improvements in communities.


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