April- June Branch Outers

Our first ever horticultural green jobs training programme for local 16-25 year olds is getting off to a ‘bloomin’ good start!  From planting carrots to calculating their carbon footprint, our young trainees are well on their way to gaining qualifications, experience, a bit of boost into work – and having fun!

We’ve teamed up with local training providers to co-ordinate this part-time 12 week green jobs readiness course taking young people through accredited hard skills training (City and Guilds Level 1 in Horticulture at the lovely St.Mary’s Secret Garden), environmental literacy (Roots of Success) and job readiness skills into employment, apprenticeships or further training with a mentor to support throughout.

We’ve been on work days together, had interviews and been learning lots inside and outside with encouraging results so far – 3 already gaining paid employment or apprenticeships and 1 gaining a CSCS card!

Meet a few of our first group and see what they have to say:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChris  I stumbled upon this course due to my job advisor.  Being unemployed and having next to no valid qualifications can make you feel like there’s a permanent brick wall.  I consider myself to be an employable person, hence having work in various different sectors.  The thing I like most about the course is that it’s not intensely academic and has a great balance between the classroom and practical work outdoors, plus it leaves you with enough time for day-to-day tasks.

I’m finding the course useful as it teaches me how there are ways I could reduce my carbon footprint and think greener even further.  I initially started the course to get an official horticulture certificate so I could match the job criteria; I passed my cscs training thanks to the course and I’ve always had a green outlook and now going down the organic route of gardening,  I’m figuring out how to merge the two.  It’s a great course consisting of brilliant individuals who aim to better your well- being.  Being on the course has improved my job opportunities and I know where I want to be in the future.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhil  My name is Phil and I am a 25 year old graduate from South West London.  Initially I joined Otesha as a volunteer to assist in the organisation for the Branch Out Programme, but with spaces still available in Week 2, I was allowed the opportunity to get somehands on experience.  

I was particularly looking forward to the training delivered by St Mary’s Secret Garden and it has been a pleasure working in the secluded outdoors.  I have been able to apply much of my new knowledge and skills to my own allotment and I am anticipating a bumper harvest.  I hope to take these practical skills forward and would ideally like to work on grassroots projects promoting sustainability.

Nathan and Tilth

Nathan  Hi I’m Nathan.  I really like gardening and working outside with plants, the soil and earth.  I’m doing the Branch Out course because I want to work in gardens or parks.   I’m really enjoying the course and learning lots.


If you want to get a green job, meet new people and gain some qualifications then join our next Branch Out Programme! More info here.