A fresh face has been working with the Wildroof Landscapes team recently as Joe Ebbatson from Cardew School near Carlisle spent his week of Year 10 work experience finding out more about the roles of a garden designer and a landscaper.
“My Dad supplies Liz and Phil Newport of Wildroof Landscapes with some of their stone and paving,” says Joe, whose Dad, Peter, owns Dalston Aggregates. “He made the contact as I was keen to learn more about design and work outdoors too. I enjoy the creative side of things at school as well as practical subjects and biology so I thought this might be something I’d like to pursue as a future career and the placement has given me a chance to find out more.”
Joe has tried a range of tasks in the business during his week, from helping to measure a plot and seeing how it gets transferred on to the Wildroof Landscapes computer system through to learning about planting design and visiting garden projects in Gamblesby and in Lorton.
“When we established the business in 2005, I was keen to make sure that we encouraged our staff to learn and to see horticulture and garden design as a career with opportunities,” says Liz Newport, a managing partner in Wildroof Landscapes.
“Not everyone has a natural creative streak or is keen to work outdoors in all weathers but we’ve always managed to find each person’s strengths and we’re known for how well the team works together as well as our smiles! It has been great to have Joe working with us as he is really enthusiastic and keen to learn,” says Liz. “Over the years, it has been satisfying to recruit locally and then see young people learn, grow and develop their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm for the business.”
The Wildroof team is now six people in all, plus Joe for his week in July too. As well as learning on the job with Liz and her husband, Phil, team members like Mark Chapelhow (20, from Gamblesby) and Jamie Goddard (34, from Drybeck) have also been learning in a college setting on the Newton Rigg site near Penrith.
“I recently completed my work-based Diploma in Amenity Horticulture Level 3,” says Jamie, “and that’s given me additional confidence to contribute to the gardens that we work on. I particularly like the variety of work that we do and seeing a happy customer at the end of the job.”
As Liz concludes: “I love to see a new garden take shape as the plants become established and the whole project grows roots. It’s a bit like the young people we employ – there is something very gratifying about watching someone develop into a job that then gives them a lot of pride, satisfaction and enjoyment too.”