Bransford Webbs Plant Company – Horticulture

Name: Karl O’Neill
Employer: Bransford Webbs Plant Company

Apprenticeships are something that Bransford Webbs have been committed to for 25 years. It is testament to the company that nearly 20% of the current permanent workforce have been an apprentice at some point in their career. This supports recent national statistics from National Apprenticeships that over 90% of apprentices stay on in their place of work after completing their apprenticeship.

Bransford Webbs currently employs 50 permanent staff and a further 40 seasonal staff between February and September. The company commits to taking 2 new apprentices each year, meaning that the company has 4 apprentices at any one time.

For candidates applying for an apprenticeship at Bransford Webbs but who have previously not had any experience of working in horticulture, the company invites the candidates for a week-long trial and get experience working in different departments. It gives the Bransford Webb’s management the opportunity to observe how well the candidates fit into the team, their work ethic and punctuality (particularly for the 7am starts during the summer!) before making a job offer.

Bransford Webb’s have adopted a fair pay policy – paying their apprentices the National Minimum Wage for under 25’s and National Living Wage or the over 25s. The company firmly believe that by doing so they have a better quality of candidate applying for the apprenticeship vacancies as a result. They also believe it demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to appreciating their good quality staff and maintain fair working conditions and wage structure.

The company believes that horticultural apprenticeships provide the valuable science behind the job and to excel at it. The course that they study at Pershore College provides the valuable knowledge particularly when it comes to the nomenclature, sustainability, environmentally-friendly policies and pest and disease control including biological controls which the nursery is particularly committed to.

As far as career opportunities in horticulture, Karl O’Neill, Technical and Propagation Manager explains, “Wholesale plant production is not just about putting plants in pots. At Bransford Webbs we encourage our high performing apprentices to further develop their careers by becoming the next generation of supervisors and managers, earning a good salary and even have opportunities to travel.”

Karl added, “Of course we always hope that the good apprentices will want to stay at Bransford Webbs. However, if, at the end of their apprenticeship, an apprentice finds an opportunity to progress their career to another organisation, then we are delighted to have been a part of their journey. Either way, I see apprenticeship scheme as a win-win situation for us as a business”.

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