Young landscapers heading to Britain

  • Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, announces the four graduates from the Skills Development Programme that will will be flying out to Britain. Pictured from left: Shalae Johnston, Leric Lightbourn, Troy Watson and Kacy Greene (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, announces the four graduates from the Skills Development Programme that will will be flying out to Britain. Pictured from left: Shalae Johnston, Leric Lightbourn, Troy Watson and Kacy Greene (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Skills Development Programme participants at their awards ceremony at the Botanical Gardens last month (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Skills Development Programme participants at their awards ceremony at the Botanical Gardens last month (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)


A new crop of gardeners said yesterday jobs with the parks department has changed their lives — and given them the trip of a lifetime.

The four youngsters were picked from a class of 11 that took part in the most recent Skills Development Programme and will travel to the UK tonight to boost their careers further.

They will be in Bournemouth, England, to build on their landscaping and horticultural skills.

Kacy Greene, 19, said: “The Skills Development Programme has helped me improve a lot, for my personality and my mindset.

“I’m seeing life from a different perspective.”

He added he had been “hot-headed” when younger.

But he said: “Now I’m calming down a lot and I’m seeing things long-term.”

Troy Watson, 20, added the programme had given him “the opportunity to make something of my life”.

He said: “I know that I started off on a bad path but in this programme Mr Parris and Mr Santucci, they showed me a way of how the real life, of reality, is.

“I’m thankful for them for helping me change my life around and thank you for this trip.”

Leric Lightbourn, 19, a former roadside vegetable vendor, explained the programme has helped “further my dreams”.

Shalae Johnston, 25, said she learnt to read, use machinery and was also able to share her experiences with the community because of her participation.

The five-month Skills Development Programme is headed by the parks department’s Roger Parris and Sam Santucci, with sponsorship by the Garden Club of Bermuda.

The training scheme was designed to give young people experience and expertise and guide them away from antisocial behaviour, as well as give them employment skills.

The young talent also presented a floral work of art to Cindy Young, president of the garden vlub, which is to sponsor the training in Britain.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said the adventure was “likely to be the trip of a lifetime”.

He told the four: “I encourage you to use your time at Bournemouth Gardens wisely. The training and exposure should be viewed as planting the seeds that will nurture and grow your soft and hard skills that can be used in your future careers.”

Colonel Burch added: “You will be exposed to a different culture, mindset and skills while in Bournemouth. Like the roots of a tree during the rain — soak up all the knowledge and experience that you can.

“And when you return to Bermuda put those skills and knowledge into practice, whether it be in the private or public sector and don’t be afraid to impart that knowledge and skill to others.”

He added: “There are a wealth of opportunities available in the horticulture and landscape industry and while it is not for everyone, you all have shown that you have an interest and desire to pursue this course and ideally you have also found your passion which will make this an enjoyable career — not just a job.”

Mr Parris, who will join the group on the trip — which is the first of its kind and will include participation in the annual Bournemouth in Bloom exhibition — said the individuals were selected because of their strong work ethic during the course.

He added: “I can say hands down that if I had to pick the first four best workers, they’re right there.”

Collin Simmons, education officer at the Bermuda Industrial Union, which is also a partner in the project, congratulated the group and presented each member with a donation.

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Published Jul 17, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 17, 2018 at 9:53 am)

Young landscapers heading to Britain

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