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Me & My Job - Dylan Freeburn, gardener, Quarry Bank Mill

Grow, 27 March 2013

Dylan Freeburn, gardener, Quarry Bank Mill - image: QBM
Dylan Freeburn, gardener, Quarry Bank Mill - image: QBM

- How did you get started in the industry?

I spent three years studying from the age of 17 in Co Antrim in 2007 and worked at a garden centre in Armagh for six months in 2008 then worked as a gardener in Blarney Castle for three months in 2010. Both jobs went towards work experience for my course.

- What advice would you give to others starting out?

Horticulture is an excellent career choice for any young person leaving school and I wouldn't change or choose a different career for love or money, but it pays to have a lot of patience.

- What was the worst part about being out of work?

I couldn't even get a job as a cleaner in a laboratory. I applied for 179 full-time jobs and had only eight interviews.

- What has been your career progression?

I found my way on to an unemployment programme for young people in July 2011 and that gave me the excellent experience of volunteering in Boston, USA, for two months as a gardener. I came back home and was unemployed again until the education board gave me a job as a groundsperson for the local schools. Then the opportunity of a lifetime landed at my feet - three months working as a gardener for the National Trust in Rowallane Gardens. I couldn't believe it.

- What was the best aspect of your job?

Rowallane was perfect for me - brilliant staff members, close to home and the freedom to just be a gardener.

- How did you find your current job?

Out of the blue, I was invited for an interview by the National Trust at Quarry Bank Mill. At the interview, I was asked to identify six or seven different plants and I couldn't get the name for any of them - disaster, the worst interview I ever had. But in November 2012 I was offered the job as a full-time gardener at Quarry Bank Mill.

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