Sam Barlow – apprentice gardener
Sam is an apprentice gardener in our AGH Solutions gardening team, who look after the beautiful grounds here at Airedale. Here is what he had to say about getting started with an apprenticeship at the hospital:
“I found school difficult because I have dyslexia, but despite difficulty with reading and writing I am extremely passionate about gardening.
“I’ve always had gardening in my blood however I never realised how much I love gardening until a year or two before I finished school. I fell in love with growing plants and experimenting with them, seeing what grows and how to make them grow that little bit better. I knew prior to starting at Airedale they had won lots of awards for their gardening work and partly known in the horticultural world for this reason.
“I first started in September 2019 as a volunteer once a week which quickly turned into full time. I spoke to Steve the head gardener about getting a more permanent job after studying at Shipley College. I was then able to start a full time apprenticeship in October 2020.
“I came here because I wanted to learn a lot and I knew this would look good on my CV, but I also want to personally make a difference in the quality of care provided to patients and hospital staff as a gardener. It might not be physical help, but having nice gardens and grounds definitely aids recovery and mental health. I never make a garden for myself but for other people to enjoy; to give nurses an area to de-stress after a challenging day on the wards and for the patients and visitors to relax after seeing someone or having treatment.
“I am happy that the hospital has given me the chance to be myself and show my passion for gardening. I’m given help when needed and it’s great working alongside the estates maintenance department in AGH Solutions.”