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5 Minutes with Beth King – Garden and Conservation Apprentice

Reading Time 2 minutes and 40 seconds
Date 24 April 2024
Beth joined our team in the autumn, starting a year-long position which combines practical experience in the garden with a tailored package of training, including practical skills workshops, plant identification tests, keeping a horticultural journal and visits to other gardens and green spaces.

BM: Beth, can you tell us a little about your background? What were you doing before you started this role?

BK: This is my first garden role, and I feel very fortunate to be able to start my horticultural journey here! Prior to starting this apprenticeship, I was working for Fife Council and the Fife Cultural Trust, alongside having my own health and fitness business.

BM: Have you always been interested in plants and horticulture?

BK: I have always been interested in the outdoors, nature and plants, and it was actually during lockdown I started looking into undertaking courses to expand my knowledge, initially for my own personal interest. I quickly came to the realisation that this is what I really want to be doing and decided to take a leap of faith and change my direction towards where my interests and passions really lie, and I haven’t looked back!

BM: What have been some of your favourite parts of the apprenticeship so far?

BK: I am absolutely loving working with the team here, really lovely group of people to gain my experience with. I’m enjoying the variety of it all and being able to be a part of all different aspects of the garden. I am particularly enjoying working on the development of the Meanwhile Garden, developing the herbaceous border and preparing the edible garden for the coming season. I also really like working with the volunteers, they are such a great bunch of people! And I am getting loads from my regular plant ident tests, and being able to put my learning and training into practice is making such a difference to my development and understanding. One of my favourite aspects though is being able to work outside and be within nature, and seeing all sorts of wildlife as I work, it always makes my day!

BM: Finally, what are your career plans? What comes next?

BK: As yet I am uncertain what my next step will be as I am fully immersed in my apprenticeship, but I’m excited for what’s to come and for seeing what opportunities arise as I come to the end of my year here. My particular passion is in growing edible crops, and working in a sustainable way focusing on having a positive impact on the climate and working with the cycle of nature. I am also really interested in working in a community garden or market garden, growing crops in a low-cost low impact way and working with volunteers to develop their wellbeing and skills. A dream would be to become a kitchen gardener, or a head gardener in a garden which includes an edible garden. For the time being I am focusing on getting the most I can out of this experience and look forward to what’s to come!

St Andrews Botanic Garden Trusts aims to bring people together with one another and nature to spark curiosity through high quality learning experiences and inspire and empower diverse audiences to build confidence, skills, and resilience. We will work to develop the skills and training required for the green workforce of the future.

This apprenticeship role is generously supported by the Finnis Scott Foundation. The Foundation was established in 2006 and supports charitable endeavours with a focus on horticulture or the exhibition, study or conservation of art. The fund was founded by Sir David Scott and Valerie Finnis, and has helped numerous charities within the UK. For more details, please visit their website here

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