Since 2014, James Ritchie has been working in the Herbarium – the oldest collection of dried plant specimens in the UK – as an apprentice research technician, and on 20 January 2017, he passed his final assessment in his apprenticeship! James now has an NVQ Level 3 diploma in cultural heritage.
James has always had a passion for science, particularly in biology, and an apprenticeship in this area seemed like an obvious choice:
There are too many highlights to choose from my time in the department. The one which stands out from the rest, is just simply being able to work with such kind and knowledgeable people.
Spending his days doing anything from repairing plant specimens to operating advanced database software, James’ highlight from three years in Plant Sciences is being able to work alongside such kind and knowledgeable people.
Having the opportunity to work with a wide range of plant specimens from day to day, we had to ask if James has a favourite:
“My favourite specimen would probably be our carpological (fruit) specimen of Banksia. In the wild, the fruit of Banksia plants are adapted to surviving bush fires by dispersing seeds after a bushfire. The seeds are held in with resin, which melts at extremely high temperatures. After the fire, most seeds are safely released.”
James plans to continue working and learning in his current field – we are excited to see what the future holds for him!
Read an MPLS interview with James from September 2015 here.