Lucia started her journey volunteering at the beautiful Cambo Gardens on Cambo Estate near Kingsbarns. At this point she didn’t really consider ‘gardening’ as a career option but was really passionate about plants and enjoyed being outdoors!

Having done some studying at college beforehand Lucia wanted to get hands on experience and discovered that she could start to develop her career practically through a modern apprenticeship route. Through her commitment to volunteering at Cambo Gardens, Lucia got involved in the Fife Our Bright Future programme.

The modern apprenticeship in horticulture allowed Lucia to study whilst spending most of her time gaining practical work experience with the added bonus of being paid and securing industry recognised training and qualifications. Lucia now holds Lantra brushcutter/trimmer, NPTC PA1 and PA6 safe application of pesticides using pedestrian handheld equipment and her NTPC chainsaw maintenance, crosscutting and felling up to 380mm qualifications alongside health and safety and first aid.

It’s not just about the qualifications though:

My plant knowledge and identification has improved lots along with my confidence and my ability to work independently. I’ve also learnt how to push my boundaries and try new things and put myself in new situations.

Whilst on the programme Lucia took the opportunity to get involved in the Our Bright Future Youth Forum which has taken her to London as an active member of a parliamentary reception where she had the opportunity to talk to MP’s including those from Scotland that she invited along. The key aim of the event was to introduce MP’s to the Our Bright Future programme, which is happening through 31 projects across the UK, and to share some of the ideas and ‘Asks’ that the young people involved would like to see taken forward.

Our main ‘Ask’ is to introduce one hour of being outdoors every day at school, which I thought was a brilliant ‘Ask’ considering how much time kids nowadays spend in front of screens. It was lovely to meet so many like-minded people and to see how open and interested the MP’s were about our suggestion. It was also a great opportunity to meet and connect with people and to be a part of the start of change happening.

The 15-month programme has given Lucia a great breadth of experience and practical skills and experience. She has decided to further her training and specialise having been accepted on to an HND in Horticulture with plantsmanship delivered jointly by SRUC and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.