NEWCASTLE City Council's Nature's Landscapes, which employs local adults with learning and physical disabilities, has helped a young man sow the seeds for his next career move.
The service, which gives a grounds maintenance and landscaping service for the local authority and other organisations, has taken on Dale Connell as a horticulture apprentice.
Its manager Alan Wear recruited the 21-year-old with the help of Newcastle College’s free recruitment and matching service. He has since then seen him gain a variety of new skills and a renewed sense of self-belief.
He said: “When Dale came to work with us his self esteem and confidence were quite low, but the change in him during his time with us has been remarkable. He has learnt much that will enhance his chances of going on to gain unsupported employment.”
Connell has a number of disabilities including dyspraxia, dyslexia and mild cerebral palsy.
Before joining Nature’s Landscapes, he was unemployed, and felt his future employment prospects were low. Through Nature’s Landscapes he found out about the possibility of a Horticulture Apprenticeship with Newcastle College.
He said: “I decided I wanted to do an apprenticeship instead of some other training or job as I thought it would help my job prospects, both now and in the future. What I have liked about my apprenticeship is that I haven’t just been supported while at work but also through training at Newcastle College.”
The apprenticeship involved him spending one day a week at the college and spending the other four with his employer carrying out various gardening duties.
He has now completed his apprenticeship and is hoping to move into unsupported employment as a landscaper or gardener.