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Making a master gardener

November 26, 2017

Green dream

Green dream:  Christina Chung (left) joined the Junior Master Gardener Training Project to sharpen her landscaping skills.

Recycled ideas

Recycled ideas:  Ocean Park's landscapers reuse old tyres and flower pots to create garden art and promote environmental awareness.

Field work

Field work:  Christina says the public admiration for her creations gives her great satisfaction, making her hard work in the hot sun worthwhile.

Manpower boost

Manpower boost:  Christina (second left) and Senior Landscaping Manager Winnie Cheng (centre) are part of the 60 staff who maintain Ocean Park's gardens.

Earning a Higher Diploma in Landscape Architecture at the Hong Kong Design Institute, 23-year-old Christina Chung joined the Junior Master Gardener Training Project this year.

 

The scheme is organised by the Labour Department's Youth Employment & Training Programme, Ocean Park and a training centre, and offers courses for young people.

 

Christina attended a free pre-employment training course. She then received on-the-job training at Ocean Park with a monthly salary of $11,000.

 

Art apprenticeship

Christina is now working as a contract junior master gardener at Ocean Park.

 

She conducts routine landscape maintenance duties, including watering, digging, planting and weeding gardens.

 

Under the guidance of her instructors, she has learned how to use garden tools like hedge clippers and hand pruners to make plant sculptures. She also uses recycled materials to create garden art.

 

Christina said her instructors cut up old tyres and shape them to create animal-like artworks.

 

"Then I will paint the artworks to make them more attractive. We also use old flower pots to create art as well. We can use the pots to make human-like or animal-like creations. We then paint them."

 

She said she hopes the artworks promote environmental awareness in the community.

 

Career pursuit

A nature lover since childhood, Christina said the programme has given her a rich learning experience. She intends to pursue a career in landscape architecture.

 

She said the public admiration for their creations gives her great satisfaction, making her hard work in the hot sun worthwhile.

 

"When we finished the landscaping design in the theme park, I saw visitors take photos and selfies with our creations. I think they appreciate our work.

 

"I must work in the sun. My colleagues often remind me to wear a hat and drink more water. They are very supportive and care for me a lot. It encourages me to continue to work hard."

 

There are 22 animal plant sculptures in the park. Sixty staff are responsible for the park's landscaping.

 

Training talent

Ocean Park Senior Landscaping Manager Winnie Cheng said while horticulture is not a popular practice in Hong Kong, greening is an important part of sustainable development.

 

She said the training scheme can help lessen the labour shortage and boost manpower supply in the landscaping industry.

 

It gives young people the chance to learn the skills they need to pursue their chosen career.

 

"I think almost everyone will be benefited by the YETP programme," Ms Cheng said.

 

From September 1 the daily allowances for trainees under the programme will rise from $50 to $70.

 

The allowance for those who complete the one-month workplace attachment will also rise from $3,000 to $4,500.

 

Christina encouraged young people to join the programme to enrich their job skills and experience to enhance their employability.



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Youth Employment and Training Programme