The apprentices who ‘fell in love with the job’ now looking after Cardiff’s parks


A young apprentice who ‘fell in love with the job straight away' has become one of the latest permanent recruits working for Cardiff in the city's iconic parks.

Morgan originally joined Cardiff Council in 2019 on a four-year park's ‘sports turf' apprenticeship and is now permanently employed maintaining the city's bowling greens, rugby, cricket, football, and even croquet pitches.

Remembering being offered his initial traineeship, Morgan said: "I was just over the moon and I thought, this is me now, and then I just pushed and pushed, did everything I could. I had good mentors around me, and they showed me the ropes, and then let me crack on. I built my experience up and my knowledge, and I haven't looked back since."

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Morgan, shortly after beginning his apprenticeship in 2019.

"I love working on my own or as part of a team and just getting the job done. When you're working in peak summer in just shorts and a t-shirt in the early mornings, it just makes you happy, being in the surroundings and working in Cardiff's iconic parks, Roath Park, Bute Park, all the history of Cardiff, being involved in that."

"Roath Park is one of my favourites, because back at the time when I didn't even know I was going to be in this role, I used to walk past the Pleasure Gardens, looking at the bowling green and wishing I could be part of that and a couple of years on, here I am."

Morgan isn't alone in benefitting from the Cardiff Parks, Sport, Harbour Authority & Leisure People Programme. Since 2016/17 Cardiff's Parks have hosted 450 people on work experience placements, traineeships and apprenticeships, 71 one of those in the first half of this year. He's also not alone in falling in love with the job.

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Jess and Morgan, the two latest graduates from Cardiff's Parks People Programme

Jess, a relative newcomer to Cardiff's Community Park Ranger Team which was recently named the 2023 Green Flag Parks UK ‘Team of the Year,' described being "so chuffed" when she found out she had secured a permanent role after an extensive apprenticeship which saw her complete qualifications and gain hands-on conservation experience, while also getting paid.

"It's different almost every single day. Sometimes it's very practical tasks, with the conservation work, so some of it's really practical, physical work and then there's also the educational side of things, and community groups as well."

"We'll often go and check the bird hides first thing in the morning and in the winter, that'll be just as the sun's coming up, so doing a lap of the Forest Farm Reserve and there's birds flying around you, it's just beautiful, it's really quiet, really still, and it just feels like you've got to pinch yourself that this is your job."

Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events, Cllr Jennifer Burke, said: "Cardiff's parks are a fantastic asset to the city and it's great to see the enthusiasm and passion that Morgan and Jess have for looking after them. 

"While not everyone who comes through the People Programme will go on to secure a permanent role with the Council, they will all leave with more experience and more opportunities to succeed in the future."

With two new Horticulture apprentices, a new Landscape Design apprentice and a new trainee in the Community Park Ranger team just beginning their careers, the People Programme is continuing to flourish, offering what Jess can describes as an "amazing opportunity."