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Me & My Job - Josh Saunders, apprentice, Hillier Landscapes

Grow, 11 September 2015

Josh Saunders, apprentice, Hillier Landscapes - image: Hillier Landscapes
Josh Saunders, apprentice, Hillier Landscapes - image: Hillier Landscapes

How did you get started in the industry? I started as a gardener/park ranger at an 1850s estate called Old Down Country Park in Bristol, where I had the opportunity to maintain and enhance the gardens and grounds through plantsmanship and cultivation practices.

What advice would you give to others starting out? Source an apprenticeship that’s right for you. Understand what it is that you want to achieve. The opportunities are out there but only you can make it happen.

What does your typical day involve? Landscaping is a diverse industry so you have to be versatile. Every day can be different in terms of location and job priority. Most of the time I firstly water newly laid turf and fresh planting. However, jobs could involve paving a terraced area, constructing a staircase or pergola, decking, water features, raised beds, stone walls, artificial lawns, landscaping, reinstating ground levels, outdoor lighting and more.

What is the best aspect of your job? I enjoy using nice materials. It’s rewarding to visualise the potential of something and then produce it as a team from nothing. I like the sense of practical achievement.

What have you been working on recently? I’ve been building a cascade made from York stone to create a flowing water feature and drop pool areas. It is powered by a natural spring.

What has been your biggest achievement? I recently received the honour of best all round student on my college course.

What does the future hold for the industry? I hope that the next generation of skilled workers are educated and trained from the experience and knowledge of established companies and freelancers. Awareness and attitudes towards the industry can be improved in schools also so young people know about all employment opportunities before leaving.

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