News | 13 May 2024
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Join the shrub: Get to know our horticulture apprentices

Wellington city is full of beautiful plant displays, gardens, and green spaces, but who are the green thumbs behind them?

Two horticulture apprentices working to clear weeds from a garden.

Not many people know that the Council offers a Horticulture Apprenticeship  a three-year programme where you complete a NZ Certificate in Horticulture – Amenity where you can work in nature while also getting a qualification. 

Get to know more about what this apprenticeship can offer from current apprentices, Clem and Cloud. 

A woman in a green shirt smiling at the camera and holding the handle of a rake.

Meet Cloud

Originally from Nelson, Cloud Jordan has called Wellington home for the past 11 years. 

With a passion for horticulture and botany, she jumped at the opportunity to do the Amenity Horticulture Apprenticeship programme, which she has been in for seven months, says Cloud.

“I used to be a private gardener but now I’ve been in this role for the past seven months. It’s a dream come true – cheesy I know!”

Cloud’s role sits within the Horticulture Team, which looks after a large amount of gardens, parks, roadside areas. This means that every day can look very different, and Cloud is stoked at the depth and range of things she can get up to. 

“My favourite part of the apprenticeship is the variety of places that I get to work that I otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to access. I also love how fantastic the Council is at providing in-depth training in all sorts of different areas – I’ve loved chainsaw training and tractor training!”

Cloud says that if you’re looking for the opportunity to learn and adapt, the apprenticeship is for you. 

Two people walking down a pathway between trees.

“My dream is to go back to private gardening but with a business of my own, and this programme is teaching me necessary skills every day.

“To anyone thinking of applying for this apprenticeship, in my opinion, this is as good as it gets. The Council is amazing to work for and provides an extremely positive and encouraging workplace. They go above and beyond for us and allow us to have the best start in this qualification. You get to work in some of the top areas of Wellington and are surrounded by people who are incredible at what they do. I couldn't recommend it enough."

Person working in a garden.

Meet Clem

After graduating with a degree in Environmental Management and Ecology at the University of Otago, Joel Clement (otherwise known as Clem) moved up to Wellington last year and has since then made roots in the city through their Amenity Horticulture Apprenticeship at the Council. 

Their role, which they have been in for a year, involves growing, planting, and caring for a wide range of plants in many different gardens across Wellington. 

The Horticulture teams switch locations every four months, which means Clem’s office can be places such as the Wellington Botanic Garden, Ōtari-Wilton's Bush, the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, Berhampore Nursery, and the many green spaces throughout the city from Lambton Quay to Red Rocks. 

After getting their degree, Clem felt the apprenticeship was a great opportunity to continue learning while getting hands on experience. 

“It seemed like a fun opportunity to work outdoors, do some good throughout the city, and hang out with plants all day.”

Currently, Clem is situated at the Wellington Botanic Gardens ki Paekākā and their days range from feeding ducks in the duck pond, traversing the gardens' hills to pull some weeds, pruning trees, driving around in the Kubota, and planting flowers in the display gardens. 

Clem says that their favourite part of the role is getting to learn from and work with the many passionate gardeners across the Council. 

Three people walking through Otāri-Wilton's Bush with a map on the right-hand side.

“Everyone has their own niche bits of knowledge that they're excited to share, and as both a blessing and a curse, no matter how much you know there's always more to learn. I'm hoping to gain as much knowledge and as many practical skills as I can during my apprenticeship. Using these, I hope to pursue my passions for urban ecology and environmental education in the future.

“Whether you like plants, want to work outdoors, gain qualifications, or see a bunch of dogs and ducks in your day-to-day job, the apprenticeship is a great opportunity to get a taste of everything horticulture has to offer.”

Working for Wellington  

We're always looking for people who share our passion for Wellington, and want to help us make our city an even better place to live, work and play. Find out about job vacancies, employee benefits, and what it’s like working for Wellington on our careers webpage.