Barbour’s Apprentices of the Season – Meet Thomas Hutchinson and Jess Cassidy

In partnership with the Prince’s Countryside fund, we are recognising young aspiring farmers who are looking to kick-start their careers in agricultural trade.

February 28th 2018
We’re proud to announce that, in partnership with the Prince’s Countryside Fund, we have carefully selected our most recent Barbour Apprentices of the Season. Meet Jess Cassidy and Thomas Hutchinson, Jess is doing an apprenticeship in Horticulture, and Thomas is an apprentice in Trees and Timber. They have each won a Barbour outfit to help keep them warm and dry during their apprenticeship.
What does the day in the life of an apprentice in your role look like?
Jess: My daily job is to keep the garden up to a beautiful standard. Depending on what time of year it is I can also be propagating plants or planting/harvesting vegetables.
Thomas: A normal day would be going out in to the woods and using the chainsaw to fell and process trees.  This would be part of a thinning operation to allow additional light in to the remaining trees.
What first attracted you to the apprenticeship?
Jess: Physical work appeals to me and I’d never had the privilege of working outside before, especially in a place filled with energy, beauty and life such as Cambo gardens.
Thomas: Gaining qualifications and the opportunity to work outside whilst learning new skills.
What would you say your favourite part of the day is?
Jess: After I’ve completed a physical and/or mentally trying task. I get a sense of accomplishment when I can visually see the difference I’ve made to the garden and once that’s done I can then take a few moments to be present and appreciate the work I’ve done, breathe in the fresh air, listen to the nature around me and just take in all the garden has to offer.
Thomas: Going out and cutting trees, managing a wooded area!
What skills has the apprenticeship provided you with for your future career progression?
Jess: I’ve acquired many skills during my apprenticeship including propagation, seed sewing, garden design, pesticide spraying, chainsaw training plus my rope access and areal rescue tickets.
Thomas: A lot of qualifications, which has enable me to progress in to a full time job in the forestry sector.
What would you describe as your greatest career accomplishments so far?
Jess: Getting my chainsaw and rope access training certificates. My whole life I’ve been defying stereotypical gender roles in attempt to diminish the notion that women can’t do the jobs that men can. Now I have proof on paper that we can.
Thomas: Passing all my forestry qualifications and completing my Modern Apprenticeship in Trees & Timber.
What has being involved with the Prince’s Countryside Fund meant to you?
Jess: It has given me more stability, a future career in the rural sector and the opportunity to try out new things, which I wouldn’t have done otherwise.
Thomas: It has meant a lot to me, it has enabled me to get a job in a sector I am passionate about and keen to work in.
Jess wears the Barbour Monteviot Wax Jacket styled with the Barbour Prudhoe Knit.
What have you enjoyed most during your apprenticeship?
Jess: Being able to consistently learn new things everyday alongside being able to strengthen my relationship with nature.
Thomas: I have enjoyed meeting new people and colleagues whilst learning new skills.
What challenges have you overcome during your apprenticeship?
Jess: The first 8 months of working at Cambo Estate  as I didn’t have a driving licence, meaning I was traveling two and a half hours by bus each way every day. This was mentally and physically draining at times but the drive to do the best work I can for my bosses and the exhilarating beauty that is Cambo gardens, meant I was able to overcome this barrier.
Thomas: During my apprenticeship I have overcome a number of challenges the main one being dyslexia, during my time at Falkland I improved my basic reading and writing with the help of others.  This has helped me in my general life but also in my work.
Thomas wears the Barbour Shoveler Quilted Jacket, Barbour Cotton Half Zip and Barbour Bede Wellington Boots. Jess wears the Barbour Women’s Tempest Wellingtons Boots.
Jess: I like how Barbour supply sustainable, weather proof, fashionable clothing that I can wear whilst working outdoors any day of the year. 
Thomas: I like the clothes, as they are smart and practicable.
Discover more countryside style with our SS18 Collections.