John O'Conner (Grounds Maintenance) Ltd

John O’Conner developed our award winning company apprenticeship scheme in 2011 to provide an employment entry point for young people. Most of them are attracted to us because of our family ethos, their love of horticulture and the outdoors, and the opportunity to have a meaningful career.

Our apprentices participate in an intensive but varied 18-month horticultural apprenticeship. Their work experience includes practical work on our contracts, special projects (e.g. garden landscape design) to challenge their problem-solving skills, taking part in community horticultural schemes so that they understand about giving back, and developing their confidence and communication skills through speaking opportunities and mentoring from a John O’Conner Contract Manager.

We’ve created 44 apprenticeships in 5 years. We’ve focussed on small numbers so that we can nurture and develop our young people into our future managers.


“I’ve experienced a wide variety of tasks and a real insight into real life working and the public are really nice”, John O’Conner Apprentice.

“Congratulations to Neil for your success at the National Apprenticeship Awards. Apprenticeships truly are set to be one of the great success stories of the decade, and Neil is a worthy ambassador.” Nick Boles, Skills Minister on John O’Conner’s Operations Director Neil Cain’s Apprentice Champion of the Year award.


Best Apprenticeship Vote
Best Family Business Vote