Let’s talk to the next generation…

To coincide with this year’s National Apprenticeship Week we caught up with two of our grounds maintenance apprentices, David Hoy from Lewisham and Ed Forsythe from Birmingham, to talk in depth about what it is like to be an apprentice with Glendale.

What attracted you to join the Glendale apprenticeship scheme?

Ed Forsythe: “For me, the opportunity to gain valuable experience while learning practical skills under the guidance of such a reputable nationwide company was one not to be missed.”

David Hoy: “I used to see Glendale doing work in my local area and I’ve always enjoyed working outdoors.  I made enquiries about Glendale’s apprenticeship scheme and I liked the way it sounded so I applied.  It’s definitely lived up to my expectations.”

What practices does your role involve?

Ed Forsythe: “My duties can vary day to day – from shrub work, mowing and bedding plants to fence work and general grounds maintenance.  Some work can be seasonal, such as work on bowling greens and cricket pitches or working with fine turf and mowing ornamental lawns.”

David Hoy: “At the moment I’m working mainly on our residential contracts, carrying out grounds maintenance services on housing estates across Lewisham and Deptford.  I’ve had the chance to experience all sorts of different things since I first started though, from grass cutting to design projects.”

What are the advantages of having been assigned your own mentor? 

Ed Forsythe: “Being able to work closely with somebody who has so much industry experience is hugely beneficial – I have someone I can go to if I have any problems or queries, as well as a direct source of inspiration.”

David Hoy: “Having a mentor goes such a long way.  My mentor at Glendale is Angus and I’d be stuck without him.  I know I can go to him with any sort of problem, he’s always there to support me and I feel valued.  Angus is great, he’s really enthusiastic and it’s really good to be mentored by someone who’s putting in just as much effort as we are.”

How has practical, on the job training developed your skill set? 

Ed Forsythe: “While the theory aspect is important, if it was just about that I wouldn’t have learnt half as much as I have through practical training.  Working in the field gives you the chance to come across issues and develop a problem-solving strategy – which means you can apply what you learn to real work scenarios and potentially learn from your mistakes.  It has also boosted my confidence, meaning that if I’m faced with a particular situation, I know I have the skills and knowledge to put into practice.”

David Hoy: “Practical training has helped me massively.  I had absolutely no experience when I started but I’ve come such a long way and most of what I’ve learned has been from getting out there and experiencing it.  I feel like I’m well on the way to the peak of what I can be and that’s down to learning on the job.”

Describe your most rewarding experience on the scheme to date.

Ed Forsythe: “There are a couple of things that spring to mind but I would have to say taking and passing my trailer test would be my most rewarding achievement so far.  This qualification means I can tow, enabling me to move large pieces of equipment.  As well as looking great on my CV, it means I’m more skilled which could boost future prospects.”

David Hoy:”It’s hard to choose one but I think my most rewarding experience was helping to plan and plant an arrangement from scratch, which was a display on Edward Street roundabout in Deptford.  It was the first big project I had the main input into and the first chance I got to design something.”

Do you have any ambitions to achieve with the company?

Ed Forsythe: “At the moment I am looking to continue gaining as much experience as possible while developing my skill set.  I feel it’s important to get as much as I can from the apprenticeship scheme, so that should any team leader or managerial roles arise in the future, I’ll feel as though I have put myself in a good position for progression within the company.”

David Hoy: “I’d like to keep going up and up.  After I complete my apprenticeship I’d like to become a supervisor, which is something I’m already looking into.  It was actually my mentor at Glendale who inspired me to start working towards the supervisor role and Glendale has been supporting me to progress.”








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