August 13th 2018

Eleven more enthusiastic new Future Gardeners have graduated from the special courses run by Bankside Open Spaces Trust in conjunction with the Gardeners’ Company.

The scheme delivers horticultural training to people, most from Southwark and surrounding boroughs, who would not otherwise be able to access it. Many are long-term unemployed or have faced other serious challenges such as mental health issues. Future Gardeners exists to boost people's confidence and skills, and to give them training and employment opportunities.

Seventy two per cent of horticultural businesses say they struggle to find skilled workers, with 10% of vacancies taking a year to fill (Horticulture Matters, 2014). The industry is worth £9 billion to the UK economy so getting people into this area of work is vital.

Future Gardeners work towards a City and Guilds qualification, receive talks from people in the industry and help with job applications. Horticulture is a wide and varied sector and the scheme is not simply about growing gardeners but also grounds people, landscapers, nursery workers and parks and heritage garden keepers to name but a few roles.

One course participant said: “I’m very glad I had the opportunity to participate and complete it. It is a boost to my confidence and gave me purpose and reason, motivation to continue and improve”.

The Future Gardeners graduates
The Future Gardeners graduates with project Manager Louisa Mansfield (fourth from right) and Gardeners’ Company Past Master Paul Rochford (fifth from right).