A workers' cooperative growing food on London's edge in the Lea Valley

Growing apprentices

*Growing food with urban communities: Apprenticeship opportunity*
6 posts available with Organiclea projects: Starting end March 2012.
Length of apprenticeship from 6-9 months

The apprentice opportunity

These 6 different posts offer opportunities to build basic and technical skills linked to organic food production for enterprise, community development through urban agriculture, volunteer programme coordination and permaculture tuition with design implementation.

We are seeking volunteer apprentices that want to develop their skills so they can make their living through community food growing and urban agriculture. Through this innovative and development volunteer training opportunity you will gain specific skills, experience and confidence growing food for urban markets and supporting communities to grow food.

We are asking for commitment and dedication. Your fellow travellers will be the team of growers, organisers and mechanics at the Hawkwood site; and the gardeners, grocers, community workers and citizens who form the ‘Organiclea family’.

The opportunities are based in two Organiclea projects:

* At the Hawkwood food growing and training site (4 posts)
* With our community-based outreach gardening team ‘Common Sense Growers’ (2 posts)

Brief role descriptions

Summary of opportunities at Hawkwood (4 posts) and with Common Sense Growers (2 posts)
(Detailed role descriptions and person specification below)
There will be monthly learning tutorials for all apprentices on the first Thursday evening of every month starting on Thursday 3 May.

*** At the Hawkwood growing site – 4 posts ***
Based Northeast London, Hawkwood Crescent, Chingford. E4 7UH

4 apprentices who will assist and learn about all aspects of market garden food production and propagation of food plants in the glasshouses, provide support to the vibrant volunteer programme, be a core part of the Hawkwood worker team – with specific skills development around:

POST 1 (Hawkwood) Apprentice Grower – Food plants and production: This apprentice post will suit someone looking to develop their skills as a market gardener in a community setting, or a community gardener producing for a market. You will gain in depth knowledge of growing food at livelihood scale and core food plants and production skills. [Core hours: The post is 1 day per week in April/ May: Tuesday from 9.00am – 6.00pm; 1½ days per week June – Sept: Wednesday from 9.00am – 6.00 pm; plus 4 hours on a Tuesday (morning or afternoon, tbc)] download full role description post 1

POST 2 (Hawkwood) Apprentice Grower – Fruit Production: This apprentice post will suit someone looking to develop skills in the organic growing of a range of soft and top fruit, including rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, apples, pears, pears, plums, and cherries, as well as “less usual” fruit crops. These are valuable crops in the community market garden and you will gain knowledge in the sustainable production of top and soft fruit in a community market garden environment. [Core hours: The post is 1 day per week: Friday from 9.00am – 6.00pm]

download full role description post 2

POST 3 (Hawkwood) Apprentice Grower – Volunteer support and community inclusion: This apprentice post will suit someone who is keen to develop skills in supporting volunteers with additional needs to carry out a wide range of horticultural tasks at our growing site in Chingford. You will gain experience of working with adults with learning disabilities, skills in many aspects of volunteer coordination and overall volunteer support. [Core hours: The post is initially for 1 day a week (Tuesdays) until week beginning 16 April 2012, where the post will increase to 1.5 days a week (Tuesdays 9am – 6pm and Friday mornings 9am -1pm – tbc). From June 2012, the full Tuesday working day will move to Wednesdays.]

download full role description post 3

POST 4 (Hawkwood) Apprentice permaculturalist – Training and project development: This apprentice post will suit someone looking to develop their skills as a permaculture course development worker and tutor. The skills it will provide include permaculture course development and tuition guidance; support, administration and participation in specialist land-based skills training; low impact building and urban food production. [Core hours: Friday from 9.00am – 6.00pm, The days of work will change in Sept and October in order to take part in the PDC course.]

download full role description post 4

*** With Common Sense Growers – 2 posts ***
Based at community sites in and around Waltham Forest

2 POSTS: Apprentice outreach gardens development worker
(with Organiclea’s Common Sense Growers project):

Common Sense Growers is an Organiclea initiative to develop food growing outreach projects and community gardening spaces in and around Waltham Forest, in partnership with community organisations such as children centres, housing associations, sheltered accommodation providers or a youth offending unit.

These posts will be an opportunity to develop project planning and practical horticultural skills as well as to gain experience of leading gardening workshops and working with hard-to-reach communities.

The core hours are variable and will be agreed at the start of the scheme, but not more than one day a week. There will be opportunity to start this training at the beginning of March – to be discussed during the selection process.

download full role description for post with Common Sense Growers


How to apply

Read the full role and project descriptions available on this page.

Closing date for applications: Thursday 23 February, 12 midday
Selection day with meeting and questions opportunity: Thursday 1 March
Starting the week beginning 26 March

To apply we invite you to send us:
a) A covering letter sharing why you are interested in this opportunity, how you fit the general requirements of the role(s) interested in (you can apply for more than one), and how it fits in with your future hopes.
b) A CV or list of recent relevant work and training experiences.

Applicants will be short-listed according to how well they meet the criteria in the person specifications (see website for this) and demonstrate commitment to putting interest in sustainable urban food production with people, into working practice.

If you have questions the first contact is Sophie Griffiths at the Hawkwood growing site on 020 8524 4994 – or email sophie@organiclea.org.uk

Applications should be sent to sophie@organiclea.org.uk OR posted to:
Sophie Griffiths
Organiclea – Hawkwood plant nursery
115 Hawkwood Crescent, London E4 7UH

For all the Organiclea apprenticeship posts we are particularly looking for enthusiastic people keen to put their interest in sustainable urban food production into practice, with some experience of growing, a willingness to work mainly outdoors throughout the year and the ability to supervise volunteers and enthuse those involved. The permaculturalist will suit someone keen to implement and teach permaculture and develop training administration and promotion skills.

Organiclea is a workers’ co-operative based in Waltham Forest. We grow food and food plants at the Hawkwood Community Plant Nursery, Chingford; we sell food, mainly through our market stall and vegebox scheme, which operate from the Hornbeam Centre, Walthamstow; and we support others to grow food, through training, information, events and Common Sense Growers, our gardening outreach and support Project.

Thank you for your interest in our work and vision!

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