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Latest Your Homes Newcastle gardening apprenticeship recruits complete course milestone

Latest Your Homes Newcastle gardening apprenticeship recruits complete course milestone  
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Six apprentices employed by Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) in their Garden Care team have completed their Level One Award in Functional Skills English and Maths with the help of Northumberland College, helping them develop wider skills essential when handling things like pesticides.

YHN, the arms-length management organisation responsible for Newcastle City Council's housing stock, manages tenancies at more than 26,000 homes. YHN offers apprenticeships in a number of areas across the organisation, including garden care, and has relied on Northumberland College to select and train its apprentices in this area for four years.

The garden care team provides a service to around 1,200 tenants, including general garden maintenance such as weed control, hedge trimming and lawn care, as well as small scale landscaping.

Your Homes Newcastle holds an annual three day assessment where candidates are evaluated for their team work and communications skills. At the end of this process, up to six candidates are typically offered an apprenticeship with the organisation's garden care team.

Your Homes Newcastle chose to work with Northumberland College because of their excellent reputation in delivering horticultural apprenticeship frameworks.

Northumberland College's Kirkley Hall land-based campus located in Ponteland, just outside of Newcastle, gives Your Homes Newcastle's apprentices access to 1,330m2 of amenity and commercial greenhouses, a garden design studio, 190 acres of land with herbaceous and ornamental borders and a wide collection of trees.

The college's business development team advertise vacancies for employers free of charge and provide support with candidate selection whether that is via assessment centre or interviews.

David Lavery, Service Delivery Manager at Your Homes Newcastle, who works with the YHN garden care apprentices, said: "We have a very good working relationship with Northumberland College. Our garden care apprentices attend college one day per week where they cover functional skills, theory, plant ids, and specialist tools and equipment. They develop practical skills alongside our experienced team day to day and they are assessed by college experts in the workplace."

The latest recruits joined YHN in September and achieving the functional skills qualification gives them a solid foundation for future learning. The garden care apprenticeship is just one of many offered by YHN as part of its overall commitment to improving the employability of its customers.

David continued: "A few times a year our team do a one day specialist training course at the college, which helps to develop good relations between the college's tutors and our staff and gives our team the chance to refresh or develop new skills and specialisms.

"Some of our customers are elderly or disabled and any weeds or unwanted growth can make a property look unkempt and they can be slippery on hard surfaces, so training our team effectively for individual situations is essential."

Northumberland College offers apprenticeships in more than 40 different subjects and can help employers to access government grant funding that can support recruitment of apprentices.