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Environmental Education Consultant - Annabel Foskett

37-year-old environmental education consultant Annabel Foskett from North London enrolled with Hertfordshire University to study for a Masters in Environmental Management in 2010.

“In summer 2010 I was told about Lantra’s Women and Work programme and applied for it. It was great getting the grant because it has not only helped fund a small part of my degree but it also gave me great encouragement in actually going back to study” explains Annabel.

Farrier - Steve Hewitt

Award-winning Yorkshire farrier Steve Hewitt, of Thick Penny Forge at Moor Monkton near York, has spent more than half of his 20-year career training apprentices. In the last few years he has seen significant changes – not least a significant rise in the age of apprentices and substantially more female applicants. Steve’s work helps others gain a qualification they can use anywhere in the world as well as the opportunity to run their own business.

Food Safety Manager - Libby Spackman

Food Safety Manager Libby Spackman is passionate about horticultre. "I want to tell people there’s a lot more to horticulture than they realise, a lot more jobs, especially in this economic climate. Out of my peer group from university I’m earning the most money and I have a lot more options than other career routes." Libby’s career choice has already put her ahead of her university peers in terms of earnings and her work has helped her employers earn two prestigious awards. But Libby is still just 22 and only started working full time in summer 2009.

Fencer - Haydn Nelms

When it became obligatory for fencing contractors to qualify for Construction Skills Certification Scheme cards, Haydn Nelms and his four workers didn’t just do the minimum, but took NVQs in fencing instead. 

Haydn wants to spread the word about the importance of the NVQ qualification. In future he would like customers to specifically request qualified fencers. He says it would the improve quality of the workmanship and the level of public trust in the industry.

Agriculture Apprentice - Melissa Sinclair

Eighteen year old Melissa from West Lothian had been planning to undertake a full time course in animal care, but will now spend only two weeks this year at Oatridge College.  Thanks to a work-based learning programme, Melissa will be able to study a Modern Apprenticeship in Agriculture while gaining practical knowledge and skills at the city owned Pollok Country Park.  Melissa beat off competition from eight other applicants, all female, to get this position.

Equine Barefoot Trimmer - Hannah Wharton

Being a trainee in a new and misunderstood field can be difficult, admits 30-year-old Hannah Wharton, who is learning to become an equine barefoot trimmer and aims to qualify in two years’ time. “I’ve always ridden and looked after horses,” says Hannah, “but it wasn’t until a year ago that I started to think about a natural hoof care approach.”

It was while on a natural horsemanship holiday in Malaga, Spain that Hannah saw barefoot trimmers at work on horses loose in the field and was inspired to research into it.

Groundsman - Keith Kent

Despite a career which has featured two of the world’s most famous sports grounds - Manchester United’s training pitches at Old Trafford and now Twickenham - Keith Kent says he is ‘still the same lad who left secondary school in Leicester to earn £8 a week as trainee groundsman at Leicester City Football Club in 1970’.

Animal Management Student - Bethany Casey

Bethany Casey, 25, from Haverhill in Suffolk, left work to follow her dream of working with animals and now is well on the way to making it a reality thanks to the Adult Learning Grant.

After a frustrating time at school, Bethany completed a one year beauty therapy course at West Suffolk College. Deciding salons were not really for her, she tried retail, factory, gardening and cleaning jobs none of which she found fulfilling.

Groundsman - Chris Lane

Chris Lane is one 19-year-old who doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet. He left an uninspiring retail job to help look after the turf of his footballing heroes. Energetic Chris is one of a small team of groundsmen tending the precious pitch for Wolverhampton Wanderers FC after netting a plum apprenticeship.

Chris, who lives in Wombourne, South Staffordshire, is a lifelong fan of the West Midlands soccer legends and said it was a “dream come true” to be working at the Molineux.

Florist - Gary Taylor

From working in a garden centre coffee shop to preparing flowers for an Alesha Dixon launch party, Gary Taylor’s career in floristry is blooming.“Five years ago I was working in coffee shops having had a spell working in hotel management,” says Florist Gary Taylor.“Luckily it was at the garden centre where I was serving coffees that I first got the chance to work with flowers and ever since then I’ve not looked back.”Gary realised floristry was the industry he wanted to work in and - through Hertfordshire-based training provider Keitts - he embarked on his