Shane Hollands is now an expert at turning “a bomb site” filled with dirt, mud and mess into a lush green oasis in the heart of Auckland’s most affluent suburbs.
“It’s very satisfying because it’s not as easy as you think,” says the 23 year-old landscaper.
“A lot of hard work goes into creating a garden. There’s lots of building work, preparation, site set-out and physical labour. It can take three or four months sometimes depending on the scale of the job.
“But once you see the end result you can sit back and appreciate all the work you’ve put in. That’s really satisfying.”
Shane recently completed his three-year apprenticeship with Humphrey’s Landscaping in Auckland and is now a team leader, working right across the city to bring people’s dream gardens and outdoor spaces to life.
“I had tried a few different trades before I stumbled across landscaping,” he explains. “I’ve worked as a builder and a labourer before, but you get to be outdoors a lot more in this industry which I like.
“It’s also interesting because you’re doing something different every day. When you’re building it tends to become a bit repetitive.”
He now puts his construction skills to good use to build retaining walls, fences, patios, decks, gazebos, planter boxes and even swimming pools.
While one of his Humphrey’s colleagues is responsible for organising the planting plans (which Shane then implements on site), he enjoyed learning about plant biology as part of his apprenticeship study with Primary ITO.
“We learnt all about photosynthesis and how plants actually grow, what they need and all the different soil conditions. I learnt a lot about what drives a good plant to grow well.”
Shane has now completed his Level 4 Landscaping Certificate and says learning on the job – while getting paid – is a much more enjoyable way to earn a qualification than sitting in a classroom fulltime.
“Having my Level 4 is really beneficial because it shows you know what you’re up to. You can also move up and study Level 4 advanced landscaping courses depending on how far you want to push yourself and move up in your career.”
Shane has his sights set on becoming a foreman at some stage, taking on more complex jobs and having more responsibility within the company.
“I’m really glad I chose to do an apprenticeship and study with Primary ITO. It’s set me up really well. The most challenging thing was finding time to complete my book work while working each day, but you just have to knuckle down and do it.”
Landscaping was a rewarding career which Shane has now settled into, often working in up-market suburbs like Remuera, Herne Bay and St Heliers.
He’s learnt to master the art of multi-tasking and often co-ordinates a wide variety of other trades such as plumbers, drain layers and electricians. The most challenging aspect, he says, is being organised every day and making sure everyone has plenty of work to do.
“It’s a good trade to do, particularly if you’re interested in plants or have a green thumb,” Shane says. “You don’t know until you give these things a go, so I’d definitely recommend people try it out for themselves.”