Jude’s story

Jude studied horticulture at Capel Manor College after making the decision to change career.

“Before I studied at Capel Manor College, I had been working as a sales representative for an art publisher. When I was made redundant, I saw it as an opportunity to make a career change.

I have always had an affinity with nature and wildlife, so when I decided to start from scratch, I realised that it may actually be possible to work in an environment that I loved.

I was keen to work in horticulture and the courses at Capel Manor College offered an accessible route for me to achieve this. Two of my friends had previously studied at the College and I knew it had a good reputation with fantastic resources.

I studied an apprenticeship in horticulture at levels 2 and 3 and I was at the College for three years in total. I really enjoyed it as it made me feel like I was learning something useful that would stay with me for the future. The course equipped me with everything I needed to get started as a gardener. I gained practical skills alongside horticultural knowledge, which gave me the confidence I needed to apply for employment as a skilled gardener.

I am a big fan of plant identification and always wanted to know the names of particular plants, so I really enjoyed this aspect of the course. I was very impressed with the range of skills being taught at the College; there was always something new to experience within the beautiful grounds.

Capel Manor College enabled me to pursue my passion for gardening. There is great prestige in being trained at a college with such a good reputation, and the tutors and gardens team were inspiring in their knowledge and teaching methods.

I now work as a skilled gardener for Historic Royal Palaces in a team at Kensington Palace. It is exactly the kind of job I was hoping for when I decided to study at Capel Manor College. At the age of 54, I never imagined I would be given the opportunity to start a new career, but Capel Manor College gave me that opportunity for which I will always be grateful for as they quite literally helped me change my life.”