March 7th 2023
The New Shoots initiative, unveiled to coincide with National Careers Week, will help the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) raise the profile of horticultural careers and make the industry more accessible through the launch of a number of new programmes.
With funding a key barrier to training in horticulture, a new scholarship scheme will launch this autumn to increase accessibility to RHS work-based training programmes, including apprenticeships, while growing the number and diversity of people interested in horticulture as a career.
The charity aims to support 20% of its 44 work-based training programmes with scholarships by 2027, support which will be worth around £125,000 in total. The scholarships will support accommodation, transport and learning materials, and prospective horticulturists will be able to apply for the scholarship when they apply for the apprenticeship. Apprentices will continue to earn the National Minimum Wage, currently £20,300 per year, whilst they complete their training.
New Shoots will find new ways to highlight the many pathways into horticulture as a career, and the multitude of jobs available after training, driving interest in the sector from young people and currently under-represented groups. The charity will be offering new opportunities at two of its gardens, RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, and RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey. These opportunities will also be offered at the other three RHS gardens from 2024.
In addition to the scholarships, new offerings include:
- Work experience for year 10 students,
- Industry placements at the gardens for students enrolling on the new Agriculture, Land Management and Production T-Level,
- Longer work experience opportunities for over-18s with the garden curatorial teams.
To help facilitate these new offerings, a new practical learning space is being created at Wisley, the Sustainable Horticulture Training Hub, which will be used to teach sustainable gardening practices. The other four RHS gardens will all have similar spaces by 2027.
Alongside these entry points into horticulture, the New Shoots team will also run taster sessions for people wanting to learn more about horticultural careers and offer advice on available opportunities and how to get practical experience of gardening. More flexible volunteering will also be developed, including for young people.
Suzanne Moss, RHS Head of Education and Learning, said: “New Shoots is launching at a time when more people are looking for sustainable, green jobs, but the horticultural sector, a key provider of these jobs, is facing a skills shortage. Gardens and the plants within them not only promote good health and wellbeing but can also help mitigate the impact of climate change and provide essential habitats for wildlife. It’s imperative that as we come to be more reliant on these spaces, we’re better able to equip people with the skills needed to protect gardens for the future.”
The charity is aiming to engage almost 30,000 people with its work opening up horticultural careers to a wider audience in the first year of New Shoots, and engaging around 120,000 people overall by 2025.
The New Shoots initiative was made possible with contributions from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players.
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Source: RHS Press Release