TEENAGERS searching to start a career could be in luck, as a garden centre has offered youngsters the chance to get their hands dirty.

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An apprenticeship scheme has just been launched by Codicote Garden Centre, on the village’s High Street, for people aged over 16.

Manager Don Ellwood said he was “delighted” to be offering the scheme – a first for the horticultural industry – which he described as a “great opportunity”.

He added: “The apprenticeship will combine a blended learning approach with full integration into the garden centre.

“Knowledge-based learning will be accessed online, while college-based classes, which will take place at selected horticultural colleges, will develop the apprentices’ practical skills. These will then be put into practice in the workplace.”

All apprentices who successfully complete the programme will receive a work-based Diploma in Horticulture.

The 12-month programme includes an apprenticeship wage, which is dependent on age. A ‘celebration bonus’ of £500 will also be paid to those who complete the scheme.

After 12 months, higher level apprenticeships, linked to the management development strategy of the garden centre, will be available to successful candidates, subject to application.

Don said: “There are excellent career benefits for people who do an apprenticeship as they can combine the experience of working with gaining qualifications. Apprentices learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money all at the same time.”

The centre is currently recruiting for the July to September intake and the closing date for registration is Tuesday, July 31.

For an application form to register email apprenticeships@thegardencentregroup.co.uk

For more information about the firm call 01438 820433.

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