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