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354 The Story of Parliament


God save our


gracious greens From Royal Parks to roundabouts, The Landscape Group looks after much of the nation’s green spaces


F


rom the magnificence of Regent’s Park to a suburban cul de sac, there’s barely a green corner of the country


that doesn’t owe something to Te Landscape Group (TLG). “If you see a guy with a strimmer on a highway, he’s


probably one of ours,” says Joanne MacPhail, HR Director of a company that was founded in 1919 and now looks after grounds maintenance all over the country, ensuring green areas are kept in immaculate condition from Aberdeen to Devon. TLG takes care of everything from grass verges and


roundabouts to some of London’s most high-profile parks. With such a wide range of responsibilities, it requires a similar broad spectrum of skills in its workforce. “We need people with all skills,” says MacPhail. “An ageing


workforce demographic means we have think creatively about how to futureproof our talent pipeline and bring fresh faces into our industry.” Te company is growing year-on-year and anticipates a 21 per cent increase in head count in 2015, making wise recruitment even more important. One way it tackles this talent deficit is through the provision


of apprenticeships. “We currently have 21 apprentices,” says MacPhail, “and have really embraced the ethos.” It’s backed up by TLG’s selection as one of City & Guilds’ Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers, as chosen by the National Apprenticeship Service.


“We haven’t limited this to one part of our business: we have


14 horticultural, two land-based engineering, two arboriculture and three in support services. By the time we reach our centenary in 2019, we want to have 50 apprentices.”


Training out in the field MacPhail believes the apprenticeship scheme is beneficial to all parties. “Horticulture is a less common career choice,” she says. “Many of the existing workers in this sector are in their 40s so there are many career opportunities for young people. Apprentices bring a fresh viewpoint to working practices that may have been established years before, and we relish that.” As well as supplying “innovation and diversity”, apprentices


get a “career structure outside the formal higher educational path”. Tere are even benefits for the co-workers. “It helps with employee engagement,” says MacPhail, “as people who are mentoring find their employment satisfaction rises.” Te public also benefits. “About 70 to 80 per cent of what


we do is local authority work,” says MacPhail. “Our work is often carried out in the local communities of our staff members and the apprenticeship scheme gives young people an opportunity to make a real impact on their local green spaces.” — www.thelandscapegroup.co.uk


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