​A HALTON Borough Council gardening apprentice from Widnes has tisenthrough the ranks to become parks manager.

Having been brought up using Halton’s parks, Paul Boardman, 31, is no stranger to success after being named Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Young Horticulture Apprentice of The Year in 2008.

The trained first-aider said the borough’s award winning open spaces have figured greatly in his life through recreation and work.

He added: “I started to take notice of the work that goes into keeping a high profile park at such a good standard. I soon started spending most of the time spent in Victoria Park watching the gardeners carry out their work.

“I joined Halton in 2007 as a landscape apprentice shortly after completing A-Levels. I was looking for an alternative to university and wanted to pursue a career outdoors because my hobbies and interests had always revolved around it.

“I saw an advert in the local paper which invited young people to a Halton Borough Council Open Day for apprentices in Victoria Park. I attended this and knew straight away that I wanted to work within the borough’s parks."

He added: “Since my apprenticeship I have worked in a few different roles within HBC Open Space Services and it is testament to the training opportunities afforded to me by the council that I am able to take up this new position.

“Throughout the 13 years I have worked within the authority I have always endeavoured to play my part in providing an attractive landscape for residents and visitors to enjoy while contributing to the council’s vision of providing a high quality, modern urban environment and attractive neighbourhoods."

Recent global events have brought a greater focus on the importance of public services, with neighbourhoods being recognised as essential assets which can contribute to the health and well-being of the population.

“The Parks Section has a proven track record of producing Green Flag Standard Parks, and I hope we can continue to deliver such high standards in the future. I hope that together we can continue to improve the local environment for both people and for biodiversity."

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for the Physical Environment Councillor Ron Hignett added: “It just goes to show what a resource to the borough apprentices can be.

“Paul has worked his way up and shown what can be achieved through hard work and talent.”

To find out more about Halton’s parks visit halton.gov.uk/Pages/libraries/parks.aspx.