Aaron & Des Smith

apprentice and head gardener

Aaron & Des Smith <p>apprentice and head gardener</p>

Apprentice of the year

The London Borough of Camden’s Apprenticeships service, celebrate National Apprenticeships Week with an annual Big Thank You event held in Holborn, London. The Big Thank You event celebrates the success of apprentices who have been recruited by the Camden Apprenticeships service, which includes the King’s Cross Construction Skills Centre.

We took on a young lad, Aaron Long, via the Camden Apprenticeship service in April 2015 to work along aside our Kings Cross Estates Landscape Maintenance team. On entering Aaron for the Best Progression by an Apprentice award, Des Smith his supervisor and Willerby’s Head Gardener wrote;

“Aaron joined our small gardening team at King’s Cross in April 2015, at the age of 24, having tried a number of work placements locally. He had an interest in gardening but obviously very little knowledge of the subject and the day to day routines involved, especially having to be up early every morning, Aaron did turn up every morning though!

Within two months he commenced a day release level 2 horticultural course   At this point he realised what a great opportunity he had been given.

He had been working alongside a passionate gardener with 35 years of practical knowledge and another who had come up through an apprenticeship with us in 2012. Aaron had been taking on knowledge during his working day which was then reinforced formally at college. As his confidence grew, he started questioning, communicating and using his new found skills.

The summer came and went and Aaron was dropping in for extra work at the weekends with our company’s planting gangs and fitted right in. As his line manager I was getting good comments from the site supervisors. ’He’s a good lad’ and ’He is a competent chap’ were common phrases. Most importantly it meant that Aaron was accepted and part of the Willerby’s team, and it had an impact on his outlook and his work too.

Now, if asked he can identify plants, the techniques used in gardening and can communicate this to the public at large.

Nearly twelve months on and Aaron is now part of our company’s future with all the amazing projects that he could be involved in. As one of our long term soft landscapers said to me the other day ‘Aaron actually taught me something about gardening today’. Credit indeed.”

 Aaron came away from the event with the prestigious Apprentice of the Year Award; recognition for his commitment, enthusiasm and achievements whilst working with Willerby Landscapes on the King’s Cross Estates.