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27/03/2009

RHS welcomes Government's £1million for Horticultural apprenticeship scheme


rhs, horticultural apprentice

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the UK’s leading gardening charity, warmly welcomes this weeks (24 March 2009) announcement by the Government, that £1million is to be invested into a UK-wide horticultural apprenticeship scheme.

Inga Grimsey, Director General of the RHS said, “This is fantastic news for the industry and the local authorities who run our green spaces and parks, especially as it shows the Government now recognises the value of horticulture as a career opportunity. We know through our own Green Skills initiative that the industry is struggling to attract new recruits, especially as 62% of young people believe that horticulture is another word for farming, while most commented that it’s a career for ‘old or retired people’.* “Gardening is a powerful tool for bringing communities together and helping them to thrive, a fact we know from our own Britain in Bloom campaign. But often local authorities find it hard to stretch their budgets to cover the maintenance of all public green spaces. Britain in Bloom helps to bridge this gap, as thousands of volunteers across the country dedicate their skills and time to planting up areas and caring for the environment in a bid to make where they live a better place. When local authorities are directly involved in the local Britain in Bloom effort the benefits for the wider community are phenomenal; in particular anti social behaviour is reduced and civic pride increases. “We hope this cash injection will help to rekindle the nation’s belief in apprenticeships, as gardening is a life skill that requires practical instruction, and ultimately we see this Government money as a lifeline to those local authorities. This money will mean that more apprentices will be able to be trained and in turn more direct support can be given to the local Britain in Bloom groups. Best of all, the winner will be the community, for the parks and green spaces we all take for granted will benefit.”

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