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Horticulture apprentice flourishes into Head Gardener

18th Oct 2016

From being the bodyguard for Björk, to mastering the garden fork – it’s been quite a journey for Kyle Rix.

“Leaving school at 16, I had pretty much made up my mind that full-time education wasn’t for me.”

Fast-forward 14 years, and Kyle is coming to the end of his Level 3 Work Based Learning Horticulture qualification with Abingdon & Witney College, a successful endeavour that has seen him skyrocket at his current work placement in the stunning surroundings of Lincoln College.

In just 10 months, he has worked his way up to become Head Gardener and is now even mentoring his own student, Tom, who is following the same path in Horticulture by accepting a job as a Level 2 Horticulture Apprentice at Lincoln College. It’s clearly an experience that is shaping his plans for the future.

“I recommend the land-based courses that the College run to friends all the time,” said Kyle. “It’s a phenomenal place to learn, especially the attentive way the courses are taught to apprentices. The support from staff is fantastic too. I owe a lot to Anita Appleby (his tutor) in particular.”

“In the next few weeks, I’ll be training a hawk.

We have a pigeon problem.”

Spec’ing gardens, landscaping, maintaining lush lawns and pest control – there are even plans to train a hawk to tackle a pigeon problem at Lincoln College – is a far cry from Kyle’s previous line of work, it turns out.

“I worked in the private security industry for 11 years, from running music venue security to bodyguarding famous musicians. I’ve looked after Iron Maiden, Bob Dylan, Björk and a few others too…”

So why the move to greener pastures?

“I personally believe that being a gardener is not just a job, it’s much more. It’s a state of mind. You have to have a passion to make it work.”

“Gardening is a continuous cycle of hard work, knowledge, and growth,” he continued. “Each season is different and every season has a purpose. You really are working with the grain of nature and this roots you as an individual in a way no other profession does.”

Looking around the grounds at Lincoln College, there’s still plenty to keep Kyle busy for now. We wish him all the best.