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Bradford Garden Centre takes on first apprentice

Management at a Bradford Garden Centre are continuing to invest in their team with the appointment of its first apprentice.

The People and Culture team at Tong Garden Centre have partnered with Shipley College to bring in 16 year old Alfie Taylor as a Plants Apprentice.

Mr. Taylor attends college one day a week to study for a Level 2 Horticulture and Landscape Operative qualification and works four days a week with the Plants team at the Tong Lane centre.

Of the appointment, Head of People and Culture, Neil Barwise-Carr said: “We were conscious that we needed people in our Plants team who are excited and passionate about working with plants, so we thought what better than to bring in someone who is eager and enthusiastic about learning, not just from college, but from those around them?

“We’ve noticed, in just a few days, that the rest of the team are enthused by having an apprentice on board, who they can help coach and mentor along the way. Hopefully this will pave the way for more apprentices in other areas of the business.”

Former Morley Academy pupil Mr. Taylor said: “I’m grateful to be given this opportunity. Apprenticeships are a great way to put what you learn at college into practice in a work situation and to gain from the expertise of the team. I’m really excited to be working at Tong.”

Mr. Barwise-Carr concludes: “Alfie is exactly the kind of apprentice we were looking for, in that his personality and approach to work is aligned to our core values of Positive, Honest, Respectful, Accountable, Excellence and Team.”

The People and Culture team have also supported another member of the Plants team, Matthew Inman with a Level 3 qualification in Horticultural Practice and Principles and are currently in talks with Leeds College about joinery apprenticeship opportunities for their Maintenance Assistant.

Tong Garden Centre occupies a 19 acre site in Tong village. It is one of Yorkshire’s biggest independent garden centres with 125,000 square feet of retail space and parking for up to 700 cars.

Located in the World Heritage Site of Saltaire, Shipley College is rated  Grade 2 ‘Good’ by Ofsted and provides education and training to meet the needs of individuals, businesses and communities.