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Green job suits Stuart to a tee.

The grass is greener now for two Renfrewshire Skillseekers who chose to study amenity horticulture.

Stuart Taylor has won a Young Greenkeeper of the Year award through it.

And Andrew McKerracher has become Inverclyde District Council's first ever Skillseeker in the subject.

A confirmed outdoor man, Stuart has the job of his dreams as a trainee greenkeeper at the prestigious Gleddoch House Hotel and Country Club.

"We have a good laugh and we work outdoors, away from the crowds," explained the19-year-old from Foxbar.

Having completed his SVQ in Greenkeeping to Level II, he is working through Level III, which he expects to complete by March.

"I think there are good, long-term prospects in this job. Through Skillseekers I have a qualification and I'd say to anyone else `Go for it. If you get a chance to so something similar, give it a bash'.

His boss, head greenkeeper Gordon Kerr, said: "I'm delighted with Stuart and the Skillseekers training he's receiving through GOSTA - the Golf and Outdoor Sports Training Association.

"What he learns at college one day a week backs up the practical work he gets here on the course."

And the man who has been tending greens for 25 years, adds: "It is not just a job, it is a labour of love."

"We were delighted Stuart won the Young Greenkeeper of the Year award and understand he got the highest marks ever achieved."

Andrew McKerracher kept looking for his dream job after leaving Gourock High School in 1995.

He first took a course in auto engineering then went for his GSVQ in construction.

"All this time I had a part time job in a local garden centre," said 18-year-old Andrew. "I really enjoyed it. I like working with my hands."

So when he spotted an advert saying Inverclyde Council was looking for modern apprentices, he went for it. And now, started on a three-year modern apprentice course, he is seeing the green shoots of hope.

"I hope this will give me a full time job as a gardener. There is a lot more involved than I thought and there is a fair bit of studying, but I'm glad I'm doing it."

Inverclyde Skillseeker co-ordinator Irene Black added: "We currently have 71 trainees. Forty-two are Skillseekers and 29 are modern apprentices in areas as different as business administration, joinery and motor vehicle maintenance. These people are a valuable resource and we are pleased to play our part in their progress."
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 16, 1997
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