Steve Jenkins – Ball Colegrove

Name: Steve Jenkins
Employer: Ball Colegrove
Type of apprenticeship: Level 2 Horticulture

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
I chose an apprenticeship because I wanted to progress in my current role. I’ve always wanted to work in the horticulture industry but I also wanted to learn more and increase my job prospects. Doing an apprenticeship was the way to do both.

What is the best part of your apprenticeship?
The best part is the social aspect. I get to speak with lots of different people in my job and, when I come into college, I get to speak to all the other apprentices. We talk about our experiences in our various roles, share industry ideas and visit different companies. There a bit of a generation gap in the industry at the moment, so I also enjoy speaking to people my age and learning about the industry together.

What skills have you learned since starting?
I have honed my practical skills such as knowing how to make plant cuttings, but I’ve also become more aware of things such as the environment, the impact of horticulture and how my job supports the industry as a whole. I have developed a broader knowledge not only of horticulture but also business and supply chains.

What are your plans for the future?
I’d really like to remain at Ball Colegrave and progress within my current area. I want to become a main grower and move into a supervisory role, so I plan to do a Level 3 apprenticeship in order to achieve this.

Do you have any advice for those considering an apprenticeship?
In order to do an apprenticeship, you’ve got to have a real interest in the area you want to work for and a general knowledge of the industry will certainly help. Due to the nature of horticultural apprenticeships there tends not be a lot of written work involved, so you’ve got to enjoy the practical elements. If you aspire to progress in the industry and have a supportive employer, you can go far.