Horticulture apprentice wins prestigious award

Pic: L-R Lianne Birch-Barnett Cemetery Operative, Michael Canavan and Andy Mayer from  PM Training, and Nick Goodwin and Paul Barlow from Stoke-on-Trent City Council 

An apprentice with a wealth of plant knowledge has won a national award.

25-year-old Lianne Birch-Barnett, from Bentilee, has passed her Level 2 NVQ Horticulture with PM Training and has completed her 2 year apprenticeship at Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Carmountside Crematorium.

She has won the national BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) Best Student 2016 and £100 prize money.

She said: “I’ve always been interested in gardening and working outside. I used to work in a warehouse before but I much prefer this.

“Some people think it is a bit weird working at a crematorium but it’s not that bad, I enjoy it.”

Andy Mayer, Horticulture Assessor at PM Training said: “Lianne’s attitude is exemplary, and in her down time at work or at home she works on a plant file to learn all she can about horticulture.

“As a female horticulture apprentice she has shown great confidence in integrating in a male world, she is very hard working and dedicated and she deserves this title.”

Lianne’s role as an apprentice gardener at Carmountside involves cutting the grass at the crematorium using ride on mowers, pedestrian mowers and strimmers, she also prunes shrubs and hedges, removes and plants out bedding and helps with the grave digging aspect of the job.