Livery Companies share several commonly held objectives, one of which is to further the education and career development in their own specific areas, or "crafts" as they were originally known.
Gardening is the collective description given in the Royal Charter, granted in 1605, which formalised the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. The provision of education became enshrined as the very heart of our Company, as it did with other livery companies.
Today the craft has broadened immeasurably and Horticulture is the descriptive name covering a wide spectrum of disciplines, fundamental to our commercial existence. Regrettably the image of a gardener no longer represents the extraordinary range of skills needed to meet the demands of our industry today. So the role of the Education Committee in our Company is to embrace several levels of education which will enable those entering or already working in the craft to develop skills and knowledge to facilitate their success - at every level and in all aspects.
Recently launched is Future Gardeners, an ambitious pre-apprenticeship scheme through which the Company aims to introduce young people to horticulture. The project, a partnership with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), the Royal Parks Guild and City and Guilds, produced its first cohort of graduates at the end of 2016.
The Company supports Apprenticeships in prestigious horticultural establishments and, in an exciting new venture, plans to fund a Nuffield Horticultural Scholar. He or she will be supported by the Company in a matched funding arrangement with the Nuffield Foundation.
The aim is to choose a high-calibre individual every year or two years and support their development, expand their experience and develop their contribution to the worldwide horticultural industry.