Nathan, 21, from Hattersley, has always aspired to be a gardener, and on completing his Level 1 in Horticulture at Tameside College back in 2011, he began to look for paid work.
Nathan, who lives with mum Tammy and two younger sisters, searched far and wide for work attending weekly job clubs, while volunteering at the Hattersley Community Garden, but struggled to break into his chosen career.
Then earlier this year, during a routine home visit from Peak Valley Housing Association, mum Tammy was told about Greater Manchester Talent Match.
Nathan got in touch with Peak Valley’s Talent Coach Nicholas Mockridge, and began weekly mentoring sessions.
As part of this, Nathan enrolled on a two day confidence building session at Trafford Hall where he received help to prepare for interviews, and was matched to a Horticultural Traineeship opportunity with EAT Pennines, a food based social enterprise working at their new market garden based at Heaton Park.
And following his initial 16 week traineeship placement, Nathan applied for the position of Horticultural Apprentice, and after attending an interview, he is now working full time tending to the new crops, while studying towards his Level 2 in Horticulture with the support of a site tutor.
Nathan said: ‘When I heard I’d got the job, I was so excited, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do – I really enjoy learning about all the plants and getting paid at the same time.’
Talent Coach Nicholas Mockridge said: "I’d seen Nathan in the Hub and at both the Community Garden over the last 12 months. Since we started working together I’ve had very little reason to see him as I am certain he is doing what he has always wanted to do. Nathan has gained independence and is so happy to be working. He is an inspiration to me and a true pleasure to support."
Rachael Stoney, Incredible Edible Heaton Park Coordinator, said: "The community gardens main purpose is education and supporting young people into employment. Nathan has been great, he’s progressing really well and shows a realinterest in all aspects of what we do, he particularly enjoys learning new things."
"In the next stage of their development the Apprentices will be learning all about chicken maintenance, as we plan to host a chicken run on site so we can produce eggs for the onsite café."
Peak Valley Housing Association is part of Symphony Housing Group.