Thinking about changing careers and entering the exciting world of landscaping, but nervous about making the jump?
Here’s Paul’s story, which will hopefully inspire you to take the plunge.
“I have just received an unconditional offer from the University of West Scotland to begin the path to a degree.
The deal-breaker was a Higher Qualification of Geography which I studied during my 6th year at the academy…I never thought that would come in handy, but it did!
This allowed me to join the HNC course on Countryside and Environmental Management, then I will progress to HND and finally year 3 of the Degree and, if I chose to, I can complete year 4 for the honour’s degree.
The icing on the cake, I have also been offered a job maintaining and living on an estate.
Prior to this I completed a 4-year apprenticeship in Electrical Engineering (this was more just ‘to get a trade’, not from desire or passion)
I joined a few companies throughout the years that followed, carrying out various electrical tasks involving maintenance and installation also.
13 years on and I still have no passion for the work I do, so I began to soul search a little bit.
I asked myself ‘what do I love?’
Outdoors, gardening, landscaping, helping on the estate.
So, I began speaking to experienced, established people from different backgrounds, such as Education Officer Stephen Ensell and Technical Officer Owen Baker from the British Association of Landscape Industries, some Park Rangers and of course my dad.
My initial idea was to buy a van, lawnmower, strimmer etc and make up some fliers but after speaking with you guys I was rightly advised to get at least some qualifications in this field in order to separate myself from and be of better quality than the masses of ‘cut and blow cowboys’.
This is when I began looking at going back into education.
I browsed all sorts of courses and their content until I found the one that felt right for me and after researching thoroughly what jobs I could pursue with this qualification… National Park Ranger was now screaming at me.
I looked into this profession in great detail and decided it’s the one for me….and the good thing about the degree qualification is that if I change my mind mid-course, I still have many other options to explore with regards to employment.
I would recommend this course for anyone who has aspirations or a desire to work outdoors and also to help preserve our beautiful wildlife and countryside.
The environment needs as many people to help as it can get, and as we all know, the wildlife needs conservation efforts and I want to offer my services to it.
I should probably also mention this for anyone who was like me as a youngster and thought they were going to end up a professional footballer!!! Yes, chase that dream with all you have and don’t ever let putdowns or rejections make you stop chasing that dream…. but ALWAYS have a plan B!
Until 18, I played professionally with a youth team but was released by my club and I regrettably threw in the towel…and had no plan B as backup…this is when I wished I’d pursued the career I am pursuing now…however I will say, it’s never too late for a career change!!
I am 31 and finally am excited about my career and prospects’.