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Apprentice employer blog - Continental Landscapes

Continental Landscapes Executive Director Billy Vance reflects on apprenticeships and social value goals

Apprenticeships and social value goals – Continental Landscapes Executive Director Billy Vance discusses how apprenticeships are crucial to the horticulture sector and its community initiatives.

"It is important to us that we support the communities in which we work. We offer apprenticeships to local people from the contract areas that we work. This provides opportunities for candidates to make a difference in their own communities, improving and developing the green spaces within their own neighbourhoods. Apprenticeships form part of our Company-wide social value initiatives and we provide opportunities for new employees across our contracts wherever possible. This encourages new people into the Horticultural Industry, which is extremely important for the long-term success of businesses like ours and the growth and development of the industry.

At Continental Landscapes we understand that our people are our greatest asset. Apprenticeship schemes allow us to support the professional development of our existing workforce either in their current vocation or in other work areas of interest across the business. We can support individual career aspirations, providing opportunities for personal growth and development alongside stable employment and potentially a long-term, fulfilling career.

We have apprentices across a wide variety of office, indoor and outdoor roles, all essential to our objectives. Apprenticeships provide opportunities to recruit and train a wide range of positions covering all aspects of works covered by our Company across the UK. Training covered by apprenticeships includes on the job training and mentoring from experienced members of staff which supports knowledge sharing and succession planning. Developing our employees is extremely important and the variety of apprenticeships available means we can support the career aspirations of the individual as well as meeting the needs of our business to attract, develop, encourage and keep new talent.

All of our apprentices make an impact, whether it is in their local communities, for their families, within their local work teams or to our business.

One apprentice currently making a visible impact within the business is Simon Merryweather,  who works at our Bracknell Depot on the Grounds Maintenance contract. Simon attended Nescot and has completed a level 5 Management Apprenticeship. Simon takes an active interest in the health and wellbeing of his colleagues; as part of his course he developed a confidential questionnaire to support wellbeing and highlighting areas that concern people at the moment. Simon recently contributed to our mental health monthly forum which involves mental health first aiders and colleagues with an interest in making a difference, coming together to share ideas about how they can contribute and support their own wellbeing and that of their colleagues. The success of Simon’s apprenticeships means he now has the opportunity to either move onto a Contract Management role, or become part of our Compliance Team further developing his interest in Health and Safety, Internal Auditing, and Transport CPC.

Our experience of working with Nescot has been a positive one.; its apprenticeship team are extremely helpful and understanding. The signing-on process flows efficiently and our partnership ensures that any issues are resolved successfully, supporting the needs of the apprentice."

This article was written to mark National Apprenticeship Week 2023.