Chris: Victorian Training Awards Apprentice of the Year 2015
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Chris: Victorian Training Awards Apprentice of the Year 2015

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Winner of the Victorian Apprentice of the Year Award in 2015 for his work in horticulture, Chris said the outdoors has always been his passion. As a child, he would get out into the garden just for the opportunity to unwind. ‘I’ve got a large family so it used to sort of be my escape time from 11 siblings. It was time to get outside on my own for a bit of relaxation,’ Chris said. ‘With my banking career, it sort of took a sideline and I think that, with the lifestyle here in Australia, I have the opportunity to put it back on the forefront. It just took off again from there.’

After moving to Melbourne, Chris started an apprentices​hip at Gardenworld Nursery, while completing a Certificate III in Horticulture (Retail Nursery) at Swinburne University. 

‘It’s important to your lifestyle as well - to enjoy the outdoors and to teach people how important and valuable our gardens are.'

When asked about the more valuable aspects of his apprenticeship, Chris said the experience of working and studying in tandem was top of the list.

‘The best part of the apprenticeship was that it’s a great balance between school and work life. Having the opportunity to work and earn money but still being able to get involved in the education side of things was great,’ Chris said.

Among a range of other accolades, including the Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria (NGIV) scholarship, Chris was soon nominated for and won the Victorian Training Award for Victorian Apprentice of the Year last year.

‘It’s been a crazy year, but it’s been fantastic,' Chris said. 'You make great contacts through the awards program and you meet new people and you’re able to build a strong network through it.'

Chris also had some advice for anyone considering starting an apprenticeship or trainee program: just go for it.

‘Even with the sacrifices that came with an apprenticeship - the change in salary and that sort of thing - it was worthwhile making the change.'

​For more information about the program, see: Victorian Training Awards

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