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Apprenticeship Week Profile: Craig Bennett

Date: 6th March 2019

Talk to Craig Bennett about anything horticultural and his passion for the subject shines through.  For the last year Craig has been employed as an apprentice in the grounds maintenance department at Askham Bryan College.

The College, whose main campus is at York, provides apprenticeship training for more than 800 businesses in the region, training one of the largest apprentice cohorts of any land-based college. Craig is one of four students who are currently training and studying there.

His interest was sparked when, after working in the retail sector for ten years,  Craig was considering a career change and read about the opportunity at Askham Bryan. His application was successful and he is now half way through his two year course working towards his Level 2 Diploma in horticulture.

Said Craig: “I was working at a garden centre mainly on the retail side and was looking for a different direction. I spotted the advert and decided this could be a great opportunity for me. And, I have to say, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made; it’s everything I hoped it would be, and more. I do feel I’ve found my career for life. There’s something different every day, whether it’s machinery maintenance, pruning shrubs, planting bedding plants or snow clearing, it’s all part of the mix.

“I feel very much part of the team and have a mentor who works with me most of the time and I have plenty of support for my course work. That fits in well as it gives me additional business, communication and IT skills which are so important.”

Kevin Shepherd, Grounds Manager at the York Campus said: “I believe that the apprenticeship programme offers real opportunities for a wide range of individuals.  Over the past five years we have employed full time apprentices in either the horticulture or sports turf industry.  One of our past Sports Turf apprentices is now working at a local golf course at the start of a real career path.

“Craig is a mature student now coming into the second year of his apprenticeship. He is learning many new skills and gaining a wide range of practical experience across all aspects of grounds maintenance, all of which is a great foundation for his future career.

He is given all the support and tools that he needs to be a successful apprentice. His apprenticeship experience is a great example of how this programme can really help train, educate and employ people who are looking to develop a new career,”  said Kevin.

If you're interested in Apprenticeship opportunities with Askham Bryan College as a student or employer visit our apprenticeship page on the website at or contact us at 01904 772211

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Askham Bryan College,
Askham Bryan,
YO23 3FR
01904 772277