The Tree Council was delighted to take part in The Royal Parks Guild’s trainee and apprentice Discovery Day, held at the Olympic Park on Thursday 14 October. Over 200 young people spent the day learning about career paths in horticulture, environmental management and, of course, options related to trees and hedgerows!
The day began with Chris Moran, Park Services Manager, explaining how an industrial part of London was transformed for the London 2021 Games and into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We then heard from Ed Ikin, Director of Kew Wakehurst, who detailed the upcoming plans for Wakehurst and discussed the Kew apprentice programme. It was great to be able to learn from leading experts in their field and for those developing their careers to understand more about the opportunities that lie ahead in their chosen profession.
This was followed by the emerging talent speakers. A particular highlight was listening to Laura, Kai and Shannon from Moor Trees. They took to the stage to explain a little more about their traineeship, funded through our Close the Gap hedgerow and restoration project, and their involvement with The Tree Council’s Young Tree Champions, where they have been busy inspiring young people to be a #ForceForNature through video content and more. You can watch their brilliant seed gathering videos here.
After a hearty lunch and a chance to network, the delegates were given tours of the Olympic Park. Topics ranged from biodiversity management through to tree planting and landscape design. The apprentices particularly enjoyed visiting the London Blossom Garden – a living memorial of 33 blossom trees, each representing a London borough, planted to commemorate the commemorate the city’s shared experiences of the Coronavirus pandemic.
We were also joined by 20 students from two local schools, who were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the London Stadium before heading out into the Park for an opportunity to explore the grounds and have a go at pond dipping and tree ID. The children were incredibly passionate about the environment and were eager to learn about the different job roles linked to nature, conservation and horticulture.
Niyah McNeish-Banks, aged 13, from Chobham Academy school in Newham, said:
“Today has been the most intriguing day of my life. I learnt about horticulture and the importance of our environment and nature. I was able to learn more about nature itself and how it nourishes everything around us. The Discovery Day has been really interesting and I would love to learn more about landscaping and maybe become a landscaper as a career in the future!”
The day was very inspiring and we look forward to the brightest of futures for these young people as they continue to build their knowledge and skills in the tree, horticulture and greenspace sector.
Do check out this short video by The Tree Council team about their experience of working in the sector and what advice they have for those wanting to enter it.
This event was supported through our Close the Gap hedgerow restoration and planting project, funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.
Image credit: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park