Giselle Silvester

Giselle was an RHS Apprentice from 2018 to 2020 and is now on a Specialist Horticultural Placement with the Edibles Team at RHS Garden Rosemoor

Giselle SilvesterI trained in technical theatre but after a couple of years in industry, I wanted a different direction. For a while, I worked supporting adults and children with additional needs. It was during this time that I realised that working outside benefited everyone’s physical and mental health. Horticulture is the career I always wanted but I didn’t realise it until a few years ago.

After an unrelated move to Devon, I heard about the apprenticeship at RHS Garden Rosemoor. For me it was important to be trained well and I feel incredibly lucky to have found this work-based option; being able to learn and apply new-found knowledge every day for two years is incomparable.
Rosemoor is a garden of two halves, nestled in a small, north Devon wooded valley. As an Apprentice I rotated through teams (Lady Anne’s old garden, formal garden, nursery and edibles) covering all garden areas in all seasons during the two years. The staff here are super supportive and have a wealth of knowledge that they readily share.
I learnt my skills through a combination of weekly block and online learning, which prepared me to take the LANTRA end-point assessments: theory, practicals and a portfolio-based professional discussion. I was put through the professional tickets PA1 and emergency first aid at work as part of the course requirement. As an apprentice at Rosemoor, I had opportunities to learn and I gained a well-rounded education.

The edibles garden is one area where I felt particularly inspired by the connections between edible plants and people. I love the orchard too and some of my favourite tasks have been learning different pruning techniques. This interest spurred me on to apply for further work-based training on the one-year specialist placement.
In the future I’d like to work within a kitchen garden or to support others to add edibles to their own, or their business’s garden. Plot to plate has the potential to improve health, well-being and be a more delicious, sustainable way of eating. I can’t imagine wanting to do anything else.
The world of horticulture is essential and future career options are hugely varied. My advice to anyone thining of applying is don’t hesitate.

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