Former Shuttleworth College student, Martin Granger is a landscaper of distinction. He gained the highest grade, a Distinction, as a Master of Horticulture with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) course.
He was the first Shuttleworth College graduate to complete the course, with the encouragement of RHS tutor Paul Labous, and has set the bar high for others to follow.
An example of “lifelong learning” in action 52-year-old Martin left school at 15 to join a YTS (Youth Training Services) course.
Martin, who now owns the £1.5m turnover MJ Granger Grounds of Shillington, on the Beds/ Herts border, which employs 30 direct and sub-contracting staff commented:
“I worked in a greenhouse, but I had to go to college too, which was so different from school and I loved it.”
Martin has also provided many opportunities to apprentices who have studied at Shuttleworth College, including one who is training to be a tree surgeon.
He continued: “My dad was an engineer with an interest in horticulture so we were always playing with equipment and planting stuff to sell at a market. So it seemed the obvious thing to do was to work in the same field and then open a business.
Over the years I have done all sorts of short courses at Shuttleworth College to get the right skills for land preparation and maintenance. Those same skills have been useful in property development I have invested in too. No knowledge is wasted but, I wanted to get a degree and so when I saw the RHS course advertised I got in touch. I had to do some lead-in courses. I thought I knew a lot, but learned so much more.
It was a bit daunting when they said I had to write my first 750 word essay. I had no idea where to start but got a distinction and went from there.”
Martin’s dissertation for his Master of Horticulture was on Robotics in Gardening. STEM skills are essential in the modern world of horticulture.
He continued: “In farming tractors are guided by satellite technology, in historic gardens lawnmowers can be automated. This leaves the skilled and talented horticulturists free to concentrate on the plants as opposed to grass-cutting for days.
We are looking at more of this sort of technology for our contract work in grass verge cutting for local authorities from Bedfordshire to Suffolk. “
For more information about MJ Granger Grounds visit www.mjgrangergrounds.co.uk
If you are interested in a career with potential to “branch out” in to business or “cutting a path” in new technology used in horticulture, or even want to expand your expertise with an RHS degree, then visit www.bedfordcollegegroup.ac.uk