Alex blossoming on his Horticulture Modern Apprenticeship
Alex Rutenbergs’ career is coming up roses after he conquered health and learning challenges to complete a Modern Apprenticeship in Horticulture.
The 23-year-old, of Mount Vernon, Glasgow, has Asperger’s, which makes him anxious about sitting in a training room with groups of people.
Originally from Latvia, English is not Alex’s first language - and he is dyslexic. He has lived in supported care since he was 12 but has thrived thanks to his involvement with Action for Children.
Alex went from strength to strength after landing his apprenticeship, learning how to maintain beautiful outdoor spaces and parks for Glasgow City Council.
He put every effort into preparing the rose beds and grass areas ahead of the International Rose Trials at Tollcross Park, Glasgow - and set aside his shyness to take the lead in answering the judges’ questions at the Trials.
The Modern Apprenticeship has really boosted my confidence. Words can’t describe how proud I feel when I hear people saying how great the park looks - it’s what makes me come to work every day.
Alex said: “Being a gardener was my dream job and I wanted to prove to myself, and everyone else, that I could do it. The Modern Apprenticeship has really boosted my confidence.
“Through my apprenticeship I have developed strategies to cope with my anxiety, and manage it, with help from my supported carer and my employers, who have been fantastic.
“Words can’t describe how proud I feel when I hear people saying how great the park looks - it’s what makes me come to work every day.”
Alex was also a finalist at the APSE Horticulture Apprentice of the Year awards 2022, alongside apprentices from all over the UK.
Earning while learning through his apprenticeships enabled Alex to save up and travel to his dad’s home in Latvia, as well as paying for driving lessons to boost his employability.
Modern Apprenticeships are jobs open to anyone aged 16 and over who wants to work, learn and earn. Modern Apprentices spend most of their time learning in the workplace while being supported by a local college or specialist training provider to gain an industry recognised qualification.
Daldowie Training Centre Training Instructor Elspeth Watson said: “Alex has flourished and gone from being shy and hesitant to somebody who is confident in himself through his apprenticeship.
“Alex needed some support but has done the hardest work himself and has exceeded all our expectations - he’s done amazingly well and we are so proud of him.”
Alex’s achievements led to him being a finalist in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, in the Modern Apprentice of the Year SCQF Level 5 category, sponsored by Scotland's Apprentice Network.