Shortlisted candidate number 3 - Natalie Meredith

Lewisham-based Quadron apprentice Natalie Meredith is passionate about horticulture and keen to learn, despite joining the industry almost by accident.

Meredith's attitude has been 100 per cent positive with colleagues and the public
Meredith's attitude has been 100 per cent positive with colleagues and the public

Aside from a stint as a florist, the Londoner had not thought of horticulture before she was sent to try it out by employment support organisation A4E during a period out of work.

She says: "I went to the induction and I really enjoyed it. It was something I could see myself doing. I kept my fingers crossed that I got through and when they gave me an apprenticeship I was really happy.

"I enjoy the work so much. I really hope to get to stay on with Quadron and get further into the course."

Meredith, 20, started in September 2012 and is working towards a level 2 diploma in work-based horticulture at Kensington & Chelsea College, Holland Park, which she says "is amazing".

When she completes it in July she wants to study for a level 3 and eventually a Kew diploma. "It's really easy going but at the same time it really gets you involved in it and my tutors are lovely."

Her groundwork tutor, Lucy Hand, says: "Natalie is an extremely bright young lady. She has a great memory and is a sponge with information."

In fact, she is doing so well that a design she has created will be used for a permanent installation of formal edible bedding at Roseberry Lodge in Dulwich Park - the first time Quadron has used an apprentice design with its client Southwark Council.

Quadron head gardener Ric Glenn says this is "a significant achievement" and he has been impressed by her capability and positive attitude.

"Since joining us, Natalie has shown a real aptitude for her work, both in the park and at college. All along, her attitude has been 100 per cent positive, both with colleagues and the public.

"She is quick to learn, with an eye for detail and awareness of the importance of health and safety. Natalie is a credit to the company, to her generation and to herself."

Glenn adds that Meredith goes above and beyond the call of duty and helps out the park's friends group with its Dig in the Park, on the first Saturday of each month, earning the praise of volunteers.

Meredith says: "I'd love to end up in a head gardener position. I really enjoy working in parks - it's nice to have all the people around and the space. The people in Dulwich Park are wonderful to work with."

The competition is still open for nominations for landscape apprentices. For further details, see www.HorticultureWeek.co.uk/go/landscapeapprenticeofyear.


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