Find your greatness with an apprenticeship – Meet Tara Sandford

9th May 2018

In our latest “find your greatness with an apprenticeship” series, we hear from Tara Sandford, who is a Grounds Maintenance Operative at Broxbourne Council, after completing her Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture. Tara talks about her experience as an apprentice with the council, and the awards she has won along the way!

“I joined Broxbourne Council In September 2015 as an apprentice, studying level 2 Diploma in Horticulture at Capel Manor College once a week. Prior to my apprenticeship, I was working for a fabric company in Edmonton, this was office based work. I realised after 3 months that this job wasn’t for me as I felt quite secluded in the office environment. This is where I thought of the idea of working in Horticulture as this gives me the chance of working outdoors doing a variety of different jobs including strimming, mowing, hedge cutting, planting, mulching, spraying, pitch marking, etc.

“I found that the apprenticeship experience at first was challenging as I was learning new skills and taking in new information every day that I wasn’t very familiar with. However, as the months went by, I began to feel a lot more comfortable, with not only the college work side of things, but the actual Grounds Maintenance work side as well. I also found the work to be very physical as we have to use heavy machinery every day, 5 days a week.

“I think I proved quite a few of my other colleagues wrong as they probably thought someone of my size wasn’t capable of doing this type of work, which I actually could - I took on every challenge thrown my way. My hard work soon paid off as I was awarded ‘Bulldog of the year award’ at Capel Manor College and ‘Young Environmentalist of the year Award’ at the Broxbourne Youth Awards 2017. I have now completed my apprenticeship and I now work full time as a Grounds Maintenance Operative, which I thoroughly enjoy.

“On reflection, these past two and half years have really helped me gain confidence that I was lacking in previously. I have a new range of skills and qualities that I can use and carry with me further down the line in my career, whatever it may be. 

“The best part of the apprenticeship was that I was working and learning at the same time and I had a lot of advice from previous apprentices that had completed the apprenticeship before me. Further down the line, I would like to get the opportunity of working in the management side of the business, this will require me to do my level 3, which I more than happy to do.

“Outside of work, I enjoy doing many different activities which include drawing, playing football, going out with friends and family, listening to music and going to concerts. I had previously played for Tottenham Ladies from the age of 7 -13. Along the way, I played in many cup finals, won some high profile awards and met a few Tottenham legends - although I am an Arsenal fan through and through!”

Join our Get up and Grow campaign to raise awareness of the importance of apprenticeships to our organisations and economies and to help increase the number and uptake of apprenticeships across the region!

We are committed to helping to support the delivery of apprenticeship training; making sure that the apprenticeship levy money is spent in the most effective way. Working together is the best way to achieve this!

To share your apprenticeship stories get in touch with Emma Moore, Senior HR Advisor at the East of England LGA on emma.moore@eelga.gov.uk / 01284 758326
Find out more about the Get up and Grow campaign at http://www.eelga.gov.uk/employers-services/apprenticeships.aspx

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