November 5th 2017

Eight budding gardeners have been given a helping hand into horticulture this autumn by the Future Gardeners scheme. The free course is aimed at those most in need: the long-term unemployed; people with learning needs and disabilities and those who can’t afford other horticultural training.

It combines practical skills, work experience and networking to prepare students for entry level horticulture jobs or further training. The 10-week programme – a collaboration between Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, the Royal Parks Guild and Walworth Gardens – culminated in October with a graduation ceremony at Minerva House.

The speakers at the event included Tim Richardson, author and director/founder of the Chelsea Fringe Festival and Tim Wood, chair of BOST. The smiling participants were awarded a City & Guilds qualification in Practical Horticulture Level 2 by David Green, Master of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners.

The scheme has been running for two years and currently offers three programmes per year. Of the most recent intake, Kit Tillman, 27, who before the course was unemployed, has already started a job in garden maintenance at Walworth Gardens.

Last year two students took up full-time work in grounds maintenance with landscape gardening firm idverde and another became a self-employed gardener with some of the others going onto to further training within the horticultural industry.

This year’s participants could not be more thrilled with the exciting opportunities the free course has offered them. Richard Brookes, 46, said: “I just like being outdoors, which is something I’ve realised over a long period. I look to combine my marketing qualifications with gardening, without working in an office.”

The next Future Gardeners course starts mid-January 2018. To sign up or find more details contact Louisa on 020 7403 3393 or email louisa@bost.org.uk.