‘Apprentice of the Year’ Award for Cardiff Gardener

A green-fingered gardener working in some of Cardiff's most loved parks has been named ‘Apprentice of the Year.'

In 2018 Teaka Scriven was working as an engineer, enjoying looking after her back garden in the little spare time she had, and dreaming of a career change.

That change came when her enthusiasm for taking on a new challenge bowled over the panel at interview and just four years later, she has been named the winner of the UK-wide APSE Environmental Services Apprentice of the Year award - something she says even she couldn't quite believe. 

"When they called my name, it was a bit of disbelief really, it took a few seconds to register because I knew there were a lot of really strong candidates, but once the nerves had calmed down I felt really proud, not just for myself but for everyone in the parks department, because they all helped, with the training the guidance and advice. I was really proud to get it on behalf of Cardiff."

Teaka says she feels privileged to have had the opportunity to work and learn in "such amazing spaces, they're Green Flag parks, they are really the top places to work in horticulture."

Even with a four-year apprenticeship under her belt, and a new permanent job as a gardener working in those same award-winning parks, Teaka's not resting on her laurels.

"Getting a job as a gardener was the next step, I was really proud to get that, because there's no guarantee, and I'm carrying on at college, so I'm just about to finish an HND in Horticulture in the spring. Hopefully I'll get good marks in that and I'm also in the process of applying to become a Green Flag parks judge."

One of 25 apprentices to have come through Cardiff Council's parks' apprenticeship scheme since it launched in 2003, Teaka's life would by her own admission, be "very different now if it wasn't for the parks apprenticeship."

But despite the awards, if you ask her what the highlight has been since she joined the team it was last year when she got to design the bedding displays for Gorsedd Gardens, something she calls "an amazing experience."