Nicola_Johnson.jpgAnother Trewithen Gardens’ volunteer has won a coveted placement on a nationally recognised horticultural course.

Nicola Johnson has been accepted on the Professional Gardeners Guild Traineeship – a three year placement in three gardens with on the job training and professional career development.

It’s the third time in as many years that a volunteer has been so inspired by the garden and its Head Gardener Gary Long that they have progressed from volunteer gardening to a career in horticulture. Scarlett English is currently at Kew Gardens completing a three year diploma and Inez Williams was inspired by her Trewithen experiences to take an honours degree in Landscape Design. She used Trewithen as a subject for her dissertation and was awarded a first. Inez is now studying for a Masters degree at Bath University in Conservation Landscape with the full intention of making a career out of garden restoration.

Nicola joined Trewithen’s invaluable team of volunteers less than a year ago. She had worked at Penair School in student support, but left the job to begin a horticulture course at Duchy College, Rosewarne. Within weeks of starting that course she discovered she needed practical experience to complement her studies.

“I looked at lots of garden websites and Trewithen’s volunteer section stood out,” said Nicola. “It was welcoming and offered a great package in exchange for my time. I contacted several gardens, but Gary got back to me really quickly. He invited me on a tour of the garden, asked about my interests and what I’d like to get out of volunteering. He also told me about the exciting careers past volunteers had moved on to.”

Nicola joined the Trewithen team a few days later. By February she too had been inspired by her experiences and began to research horticultural training opportunities.

“Just being at Trewithen has given me confidence to turn my passion into a profession. I was worried I wasn’t ready when I was called for interview but Gary was so supportive. He offered a reference, lots of encouragement and helped me prepare.”

“I do seem to keep losing my volunteers,” said Gary. “I’m delighted for Nicola, but I’ll be sad to lose her – she’s really good at the job. I do understand though. I began my career on a Youth Training Scheme at Trelissick and was completely inspired by both the garden and Barry Champion, the Head Gardener.”

Gary is now looking for more volunteers.