Following the release of the revised Level 2 Apprenticeship in Horticulture/Landscape Construction Operative, the National Trust - in partnership with Pershore and Plumpton Colleges and Lantra - have over the last three months led the way in presenting their apprentices for their final end-point assessments (EPA).
Lantra are the main awarding organisation responsible for administering delivery of the end point assessment which has streamlined the assessment process. It focusses on a range of practical skills being assessed in the workplace after each apprentice has completed their course of training across all areas of horticulture or landscape maintenance.
The National Trust have historic gardens across England and Wales and the training of new horticulturists is an important part of developing expertise going forward to look after these rich and diverse gardens.
Since Lantra’s revised EPA has gone live, a number of apprentices from some of the best-known National Trust gardens have already successfully completed demonstrating a high level of skills learnt in their workplaces.
The apprentices all undergo a wide range of practical skills in their workplace alongside further training provided by Pershore and Plumpton Colleges which provide the support and technical elements which complement the apprentice’s on-site skills. The aim of this process is to produce highly skilled horticulturists who will go on to become gardener’s working on National Trust sites or in the industry more widely.
Matt Handy, Work Based Learning Manager at Pershore College, said: “It is a privilege to work with the next generation of horticulturists, training them whilst they work within the industry at a diverse selection of National Trust properties. The revised standard now gives clarity to the tasks expected during the EPA and the associated Lantra EPA Handbook is an invaluable resource for both training provider and employer, detailing the EPA process"
Nir Halfon, Assistant curriculum manager for Horticulture, Plumpton College, commented: “The new EPA process means that apprentices are better prepared and confident. They leave the apprenticeship with a well-rounded set of knowledge, skills and behaviours which improve their prospects for future career and employment in horticulture”.
Lantra have a team of trained assessors whose role is to go out on site and assess the apprentices demonstrating the skills they have learnt during their apprenticeship and as an organisation it works closely with both training providers such as Pershore and Plumpton Colleges and employer organisations such as the National Trust. This process ensures that all apprentices reach the desired standard to become the future of horticulture in the country.
Sarah Johnson, EPA Project Manager for Lantra, commented: “We are thrilled to see the first few apprentices achieve their EPA on the revised standard, which confirms that the revisions made help meet the changing needs of the industry.”
Nigel Cox, Lead Assessor for Lantra, said: “Apprentices learn on the job the skills they need in the horticulture industry and the new EPA process enables them to demonstrate their abilities as they progress further. The horticulture sector needs well- qualified people to drive the industry and this new standard sets apprentices on their way.”
Level 2 Horticulture apprentice Nell commented: "The EPA was a great way to highlight a range of horticultural skills that I have gained during my 18 month apprenticeship. I am extremely grateful for the time taken by my wonderful garden team at Lytes Cary and Tintinhull Gardens; their time and commitment to teaching and mentoring me in all aspects of horticulture equipped me with the necessary knowledge, skills and confidence to gain a distinction in my EPA!"
Level 2 Horticulture apprentice Cilla added: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Wimpole Estate, learning a huge amount of different horticultural skills. It has been great to work in such a varied industry, highlights include propagating a huge number of plants for the walled garden, learning to manage orchards and planting hundreds of tree whips for the future.”