Summer 2016 has seen Walberton Nursery successfully deliver two, three month long work placements. In order to ensure that our industry has a future supply of capable managers and technologists, the placement is aimed at providing hands on, practical experience to young people intending to develop a long term career in commercial horticulture. The placement is ideal for current or recent students of production horticulture, and proved very rewarding for our two young people recently.
In order to gain a comprehensive idea of what it can be like to work in our sector, work on a daily basis of course involved lots of hands on horticultural work, for example potting, despatching, watering, propagating and trimming; but what it also gave was experience in setting up automatic irrigation systems and filling in a variety of paperwork; an introduction to our Lab; working with production planning software and other databases; making up and applying feeds, and learning about COSHH Assessments and biological controls.
Isobel Cockcroft (pictured left) hails from Cumbria, so her three month commitment to our placement was quite significant. Although Isobel hadn’t worked on a nursery before and had limited horticultural experience, she was working toward an RHS Level 2 Certificate in “The Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development”, and had a personal interest in pursuing a career in commercial horticulture. Of her time at Walberton Isobel said, “Although I didn’t quite know what to expect, I’ve learnt a lot and found staff more willing than I expected to help me learn, even though I was only here temporarily”. Importantly, Isobel said the opportunity had reinforced her long-term interest in commercial horticulture, and she would recommend it to anyone interested in pursuing that avenue. Isobel finished at the end of July to return up North and continue her horticultural career path.
Briony Howe’s story is quite different (pictured right). Briony is from the local area and has been keenly interested in horticulture from a very young age. She has completed a number of Diplomas and Certificates in varied areas of Horticulture, and has an array of practical horticultural experience to boot. Briony will finish her placement in the first week of August but fortunately for us, Briony’s not going anywhere; she successfully applied for a Team Leader position and so will be staying on at Walberton to progress her career further. Briony said, “The placement is a fantastic opportunity and really opened my eyes to large scale production horticulture. Walberton really cares about the plants, its staff and sending out a good product. I love working here and now have a nice start to my career”.
Both Briony and Isobel have given us some really valuable feedback on their experiences, and we hope to build on that to improve future placements. Walberton will be offering similar opportunities in Spring and Summer 2017, so check back on our jobs board soon for full details!