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Hor­ti­cul­ture appren­tice wins schol­ar­ship funding


Robyn Caple, a horticulture apprentice at Wiltshire College & University Centre's Lackham campus, has been awarded £1,500 worth of funding through an industry scholarship.

A Wiltshire College & University Centre horticulture apprentice has been awarded a £1,500 scholarship from a leading industry organisation.

Robyn Caple, who is enrolled on the Level 3 Horticulture and Landscape Supervisor training programme, has been awarded the John Gibson Environmental Scholarship from the Colegrave Seabrook Foundation.

The foundation is named after leading horticulturists David Colegrave and Peter Seabrook and aims to support and promote the development of young people in the industry. John Gibson is a legend in the flower seed trade and dedicated 65 years of his life to the industry. The scholarship recognises his keen interest in environmental solutions that can advance commercial horticulture in a sustainable manner.

Robyn works at Vallis Farm in Frome alongside studying one day a week at WCUC’s Lackham campus and plans to use the funding to support a project aimed at exploring biodiversity net gains. She will spend the money on survey equipment and education courses to expand her knowledge and skills.

Robyn said: “I was quite surprised to be awarded the scholarship as I know there were a lot of applicants. People in the past have done some amazing things with the scholarship, so it is really nice to be awarded it and included alongside them.

“You apply online by answering a series of questions which explain who you are, why you have applied for the funding, what you are going to spend it on and how it is going to benefit for you. I already had a project lined up at work which looks at biodiversity, so this funding will be really beneficial. My workplace focusses a lot on producing food but also working with nature and sustainability, which is a big part of what the scholarship entails.”

Robyn explored her passion for conservation and environmental projects at university and decided to return to education and pursue an apprenticeship after being inspired by a horticulture themed talk she attended in one of the lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Robyn explained: “I did a degree in Wildlife Conservation and it wasn’t until I attended a talk on horticulture during lockdown that I thought about applying for an apprenticeship. I started on the Level 2 programme at the college in 2020 and it blossomed from there and the Level 3 felt like a natural progression.

“I find an apprenticeship is really good for me. Getting the theory side of things at college alongside the practical side at work just helps to solidify everything that I have learned in my head. A lot of horticulture at college focusses on traditional horticulture but with the apprenticeship it is nice to have the support to focus on specific things that interest me.”

Find out more about the wide range of apprenticeships offered at WCUC here.

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