A HORITICULTURE apprentice’s final assessment was brought a sudden halt after he unearthed more than 20 live rounds of rifle ammunition from the Second World War in a vegetable patch.
Scott Thomas, from Coventry, was demonstrating his trench skills as part of the assessment when he discovered the ammunition in the soil at his then employer Reed Business School in Little Compton, Warwickshire.
The 31-year-old was completing the final assessment in his Level 2 Horticultural Operative apprenticeship with Pershore College, which is part of college group WCG.
He immediately flagged his discovery to his assessor, made the area safe and contacted the police to remove the ammunition.
It is believed the bullets had been left on the site by American troops who used the area as a shooting range when stationed there during the war.
Scott was able to complete his assessment later in the day, instead working on a patch five metres away, and has now secured a position working on the grounds at Batsford House near Moreton-in-Marsh.
He said: “It was my first task of the day and as I was making a small part of the trench I uncovered these bullets and we realised straight away that they were still live.
“Luckily I was just using a spade, so the force wouldn’t have set them off but it’s amazing they hadn’t been found before. The area has been regularly rotivated for years and I had actually worked on the area myself earlier in the year.
“Horticulturists don’t really get trained in these sorts of things, so it was just a case of using common sense, cordoning the area off and calling the police.
“We restarted the assessment and I passed which was fantastic. It had been strange completing my apprenticeship already during Covid-19 but this was certainly another unexpected surprise!
“The apprenticeship was a great experience for me and I benefited from a great employer, which enabled me to keep working through the pandemic, and was helped a lot by the guidance from tutors at Pershore College too.”
Matt Handy, Industrial Training Manager for Horticulture at Pershore College, added: “It’s certainly unusual for anything like this to happen in the workplace, let alone as part of someone’s final assessment.
“Scott has been a great learner during his apprenticeship and showed fantastic initiative to secure the area when he uncovered the bullets.
“Our students have been fantastic this year completing their apprenticeships during lockdown, embracing the new learning delivery in what has been a difficult period.
“We’d like to congratulate Scott, and all of our other apprentices, on the completion of their assessments and we look forward to following their future careers in horticulture.”
Visit www.wcg.ac.uk/apprenticeships for more.