Building a career in horticulture sector

CONGRATULATIONS: James (right) being presented the Calor Bursary Award for Horticulture Students at Greenmount Campus Bursary Awards Day earlier this year.

MY name is James Dickey and I am a full-time first year student on the Foundation Degree Horticulture (FdSc Hort) course at CAFRE, Greenmount Campus.

Whilst studying for my A-levels I worked part-time for a local nursery, which provided me with great experience and contacts within the industry as well as some good friends.

Upon leaving school in June 2019, I decided that the Foundation Degree course offered by CAFRE was a good option for my future. It would provide me with the training I would need and is a highly regarded qualification within the industry.

Alongside my present studies, I also work part-time for a local sportsturf firm and carry out some of my own landscaping work in my spare time.

I was delighted to be awarded the Calor bursary for Horticulture students last December.

This was an essay-writing competition where I wrote about what the next decade might hold for the horticulture industry in terms of sustainability. This bursary has been of great benefit to me and has helped with the costs of studying.

I have also been selected to go on a Student Exchange Programme at Michigan State University (MSU) in spring 2021. I am tremendously excited by the prospect of a semester of study at MSU and I’m particularly looking forward to the MSU Sportsturf modules.

Undoubtedly this opportunity will be challenging in some respects but it is another fantastic opportunity for me to broaden my educational experience and form new friendships and global industry contacts.

Our study tour to Belgium in April 2020 was cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation so I am hoping I will be able to travel to MSU by next spring.

More recently, I was chosen to represent CAFRE at the UK skills trials for landscaping. The practical aspects of my course are something that I particularly enjoy doing. I plan on applying all my skills learned at Greenmount and from industry. I am looking forward to taking part in this competition, with the qualifying heats to be held (subject to Covid-19 restrictions) in the autumn.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time studying horticulture at Greenmount, and all the opportunities that I have had thus far. Along with the new friends and contacts I have made who are as passionate about horticulture as I am, it has been a great first year.


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