Alfie Taylor and Brandon Cox

Bradford Garden Centre’s apprentices complete their courses

Management at a Bradford Garden Centre are celebrating after its first two apprentices have passed their qualifications.

19 year old Alfie Taylor from Wyke was employed by Tong Garden Centre as a Plants Apprentice and studied at Shipley College to gain a Horticulture Operative Level 2 qualification and 27 year old Brandon Cox from Birkenshaw has completed Level 2 Carpentry and Joinery with distinction.

Both attended their respective colleges one day a week and worked the remaining four days as Plants and Joinery Assistants respectively.

Of his achievement, Mr. Taylor said: “I’m so grateful to the People and Culture team at Tong for giving me this opportunity. It has given me horticultural knowledge and practical skills to carry out horticultural tasks and has helped me to plan my future career path. I would recommend apprenticeships to anyone wanting to earn while they learn.”Mr. Taylor’s line manager, Marc Salama is delighted with his progress: “Alfie now has the ability and confidence to take responsibility for areas within the outdoor department, especially within landscaping and I’m confident he can teach a small group effectively. His knowledge base extends from chemicals and fertilisers to planting and maintenance, so he adds value to both the plants and the garden sundries departments.

Mr. Cox is proud of his achievements, having gained a distinction in both his portfolio and final assessment: “I really enjoy putting my new skills into practice each day and am very grateful for this opportunity. I’m enjoying the break from studying whilst considering if I will go on to complete further qualifications in carpentry and joinery.”

His line manager, Kevin Smith said: “Brandon is always the first to get stuck into projects and now has the skills to do a wide range of jobs from building our award-winning display structures, creating a plant pot recycling station, completing shop fittings and helping to build our cabins at Mission Out, our adventure play area at Tingley Garden Centre.”

Head of People and Culture, Neil Barwise-Carr said: “Apprenticeships at all levels are a great way to acquire skills whilst learning on the job. For the students, they’re earning whilst they’re learning, and for us, we have employees with valuable skills that they can build on to progress their career with us as we grow.

“We pride ourselves on nurturing our team and Alfie and Brandon are just two examples of people we have invested in. We are currently supporting a number of colleagues, including our Finance Manager, Harriet Kelly to acquire her Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) qualification and our People, Culture & Sustainability Business Partner, Steph Bates to gain a Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management.

For more information about career opportunities at Tong and other sites in the Yorkshire Garden Centres group that include Tingley, Otley and Bingley Garden Centres, visit