Oxford horticulturist wins APSE Apprentice of the Year award

Sasha Fraser, an apprentice horticulturist working for Oxford City Council, has won the Association of Public Sector Excellence (APSE) Apprentice of the Year Award in Horticulture.

Sasha Fraser wins Apprentice of the Year. Image: Supplied

Presented with her award the day after her 18th birthday Fraser commented: "This is a pretty amazing 18th birthday present; two years ago I had no idea I would be in a horticultural occupation let alone win an award."

Trevor Jackson, cemeteries manager and registrar at Oxford City Council who nominated Fraser for the award, said: "Sasha is the best apprentice we have ever had, seeing her develop from a 16-year-old school leaver to an accomplished horticulturalist is a source of much satisfaction for all of us at the Council. Now she's driving a 4x4 and a Landrover Defender!

"Our apprenticeship training programme includes six week placements in all elements of council provision including cemeteries, ground maintenance, fine turf, countryside, park ranger, landscape and the tree team. The apprentices gain a huge amount of practical experience alongside the academic."

APSE's Wayne Priestley, who headed the judging team, said: "Year on year the standard of apprentices gets higher; this year was no exception. If today's apprentices will be responsible for tomorrow's green spaces and parks they are in safe hands."

Three of the five finalists work with Scotland authorities; Jack McKelvie of North Lanarkshire Council, Ross Gallacher of Glasgow City Council and Jordan Rhind of Lothian Council. Joshua Hanson from Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council was also a finalist.

Lantra sponsored the award and presented the award at the APSE Environmental Services Seminar 2015. Lantra’s business development director, Sallyann Baldry, said: "We are very proud to sponsor the competition and to recognise the progress and skills development of young apprentices.

"Their entries demonstrate the range of activities involved in the horticulture apprenticeship programme and reveal what an exciting and diverse career it offers young people at the start of their careers as they join the horticulture and environmental industry."


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