Shortlisted candidate number 5 - James Brindley

A techno-savvy English literature graduate who cannot wait to come to work in the morning is this month's candidate in the running for our Apprentice of the Year competition.

ISS apprentice James Brindley - image: ISS
ISS apprentice James Brindley - image: ISS

James Brindley, 29, has worked for ISS since 2008 and he has already completed two level 2 national diplomas - in amenity horticulture and sports turf and greenkeeping.

Now he is studying for his level 3 sports turf management qualification at Myerscough College while being mentored by the assistant to the head greenkeeper at the De Vere Staverton Park Golf Course.

ISS is sure that Brindley has a great future in the industry. But despite being a "sports obsessive", he only became a greenkeeper by accident. While working through a temping agency after finishing at university, he was offered two jobs. One was at a metal works and the other was on a golf course, with only one criterion - it required "common sense".

"I arrived at Staverton as a temporary member of staff and I have never looked back," he says. "I was amazed, fascinated and initially dumbfounded by the intricate science behind the preparation and cultivation of a golf course and enjoyed the preparation and physical and well-thought-out nature of the job."

He adds: "I don't regret any part of my education. It was a fantastic experience and I did really well. I didn't have this as an option when I was 16 or 18, but it has surprised me how much I enjoy it. I am one of those lucky people who smiles when he looks at the alarm clock."

He recalls that some of his friends were surprised by his career choice, especially as most people thought that he "just cuts grass", but many of them are now jealous. "On a hot day I'm outside in this glorious weather," he says. "I am doing a job that I 100 per cent enjoy."

Looking ahead, Brindley says he is interested in further developing his management skills and would like to either manage a big golf course or become a trainer in the field.

Ken Barber, golf course manager at the 18-hole course in Daventry, Northamptonshire, says: "James has made big inroads in his learning. He took a big interest in it and wanted to study. He's very friendly and easy-going. He has also played a major part in constructing the Staverton Park website, which is outstanding."

Barber adds that should a deputy golf course manager position become available at De Vere, he would offer Brindley the job.

Golf operations manager at De Vere Andrew Gibbins says the website and Facebook page are services not offered by many courses. "I am particularly impressed with how the ISS greenkeepers have managed and responded to the messages posted to the Facebook page and the solutions they have offered our members."

The competition is still open for nominations for landscape apprentices. For further details, see www.HorticultureWeek.co.uk/go/landscapeapprenticeofyear. Email new nominations to camilla.brice@haymarket.com.


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