BTEC National Diploma in Countryside Management, completed in 2006.
Where do you work now?
Oakwell Hall, Birstall
What's your job title?
What do you do?
I mainly look after the seventeenth century garden at Oakwell Hall. I research seventeenth century plants, flowers and shrubbery and how they were planted, then I introduce them to the garden at Oakwell Hall and care for them all year round. I also work with volunteers on their task days, deal with educational visits, nature club and organise events at the Hall.
What was Kirklees College like?
I had worked in catering for around 20 years and really needed a career change. The course gave me the chance to volunteer at Oakwell Hall, which then turned into a weekend job whilst I was still at college.
Has the course helped you get where you are now?
My tutor's enthusiasm was so helpful and has definitely assisted me to get where I am today. Now I'm working in something I love and I'm doing a job that used to be a hobby. The college course helped me to understand estates management and gave me a great opportunity to get involved with a local employer. I found it really valuable and gave me the hands on skills that you can take to a job.
Why did you choose Kirklees College?
It was the only college in the area that was doing the countryside management course.
If you could give advice to students in their final two years of school, what would you say?
Volunteer. Go out and work with people, when you have the time to do it. You need experience to work in a job like this, and the best and most enjoyable way to get that can be to volunteer whilst learning about the theory behind the job and getting practical skills at college.