Hey everyone, Harry here
I’ve taken control of the blog this week so I thought I’d share my story with everyone. I joined The Community Housing Group (TCHG) almost a year ago, as an apprentice in ground’s maintenance for Oakleaf Grounds Services based in Kidderminster, and wow, doesn’t time fly?
I’ll be honest with you; I never really knew what I wanted to do after finishing my GCSE’s but my school persuaded me to stop on at 6th form to take A-levels. I did struggle at school but I put in the hard work and managed to achieve five A-C’s in GCSE. I did feel that my A-levels were a bit of a waste of time in my opinion, but it did give me time to figure things out.
I always knew I wanted to do something useful that would help me gain life experience both at and outside of work. Still undecided I went to Bromsgrove College to take up an IMI recognised course in motor vehicle repair. I completed two years study reaching Level 2. I did enjoy it, but after missing a lot of study due to health reasons and not being able to find a much needed work experience placement; I felt it would not be an appropriate route to continue.
My part time job in a well known food retailer, kept me afloat for a good seven years throughout. It was a stressful job at times, but gave me life experience in the running of a business and dealing with people. However, I wasn’t prepared to settle for that for the rest of my working life.
I knew I needed something that would get me into a new industry without needing extensive amounts of experience. An apprenticeship was the only option that made sense, and after searching through many apprentice vacancies online, I took a chance with ‘Oakleaf Grounds Services’ part of TCHG, it was something local which I felt I’d be competent with realistically.
I’d heard of Oakleaf Commercial Services and I’d seen their vans driving around a lot. I also noticed they had an ‘Investors in People Award – Gold’ which to me showed that they were willing to develop and take an interest in their employees.
As for being suited to the role, I had always enjoyed working in the garden at home in my spare time, and helping out on new projects with my dad. From designing and laying a patio and driveway, to removing trees and relaying turf; I never minded putting in the labour to achieve something that would look great and serve better as an end result. About a month after my application was sent, I was thrilled when I received news of an interview with Kevin Beard, Senior Supervisor of the Oakleaf Grounds team Kidderminster, and Karen Lowry-Hall, Learning and Development Manager at Vestia Community Trust.
As you can probably guess I wouldn’t be here writing this now if it wasn’t for their decision to accept me. I was so pleased to be offered the chance to learn new skills and experience in a growing organisation, whilst studying towards a Level 2 Diploma in Work Based Horticulture.
Since joining Oakleaf Grounds Services I have undertaken numerous training courses and have been given a lot of opportunities, which in turn have made me feel like I’ve become an accepted member of the team.
One of my biggest personal achievements so far is how much my confidence has grown. A year ago I would have shied away to do something like the ‘Brathay Apprentice Challenge’, but I see it as an opportunity to work with new people, gain extra confidence, and possibly make some new friends along the way.
Thanks for reading.