St Albans landscaping apprentice recognised in the Nectar small business awards

James Lanwarne (2nd left) and James Curnock (2nd right) of Lanwarne Landscapes re

EDITORIAL USE ONLY James Lanwarne (2nd left) and James Curnock (2nd right) of Lanwarne Landscapes receive the award for Apprentice of the Year from James Moir of Nectar (left) and Sarah Willingham from Dragons' Den (right), at the Nectar Business Small Business Awards 2016 round table event in London. - Credit: Frantzesco Kangaris/PA

In the two and a half years since he took up an apprenticeship with a St Albans-based landscaping company, James Curnock has proved his worth time and time again.

And now his ability has been recognised on the wider stage by winning the title Nectar Apprentice of the Year Award in the Nectar small business awards.

It is the second time that the company, Lanwarne Landscapes, has won a Nectar small business award - in 2013 company boss James Lanwarne won Tradesperson of the Year.

Young James, 24, joined Lanwarne in 2014 after finding he could not afford college fees and opting to start an apprenticeship locally.

Prior to applying, he had toured the world as a professional BMX rider but knowing that was not a long-term option, he felt he needed to learn a trade.

His application to Lanwarne was successful and the company soon realised they had someone special in their midst. Boss James praised his apprentice’s work ethic and passion for achievement and described him as an inspiration to young people who proved that there was another route other than A-levels and university.

He said the company was delighted that James had won the Apprentice of the Year award and added: “As a company we invest a significant amount of time and money in training and developing our employees and winning this is recognition of James’s hard work and our efforts over the past two and a half years.”

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For his newly-engaged apprentice, the prize of £2,000 and 50,000 Nectar points will go towards the cost of his wedding in May.

James received his award from Sarah Willingham of TV’s Dragon’s Den, who described him as a ‘thoroughly deserving winner’ with an inspiring story. She added: “Joining the company just over two and a half years ago, James is clearly driven and focused and has demonstrated real leadership by helping to grow the business.”