Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside team has welcomed 12 new apprentices to its ranks.
Ranging from ages 16 to 31, the new starters, who will divide their time at the council with studying for a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification at Leeds City College, have been given an opportunity to learn their trade over a two-year period in areas across the parks and countryside service. This includes 11 apprentices beginning work in the gardening team and one in business partnerships.
The apprentices, who fought off competition from over 240 other applicants to earn a place on the scheme, will be based in a number of locations across the city, including Lotherton Hall, Middleton Park and Roundhay Park.
This is the first formal apprenticeship programme to be undertaken by the parks and countryside department since the last set of recruits arrived in 1984. Many of these apprentices still work for the council today, which includes the current head of service Sean Flesher, who is a graduate of the scheme.
As part of the programme, each apprentice will have access to a skilled mentor offering advice, guidance and support and be given the opportunity to develop their skills in other areas including forestry and golf course maintenance.
On hand to meet and welcome the apprentices to the team at Golden Acre Park was Leeds City Council’s executive board member for the environment, Councillor Mark Dobson and Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure & skills.
Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment said:
“I am delighted that as part of our new apprenticeship scheme, we have welcomed our first 12 recruits to the council’s parks and countryside team.
“A number of former apprentices are still working in the service, and when you consider that our chief officer is a former graduate, it just goes to show what can be achieved through programmes such as this one.”
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure & skills said:
“This is great news, and we are looking forward to providing all our apprentices at the council with the opportunity to not only learn a new trade, but also work closely with a skilled mentor offering advice, guidance and support.”
Sean Flesher, Leeds City Council’s chief officer for Parks & Countryside said:
“Carrying out an apprenticeship with the parks and countryside service here in Leeds gave me the perfect start in the landscape industry and it is fantastic to see through this new programme more young people being given the same chance I had.”