Milton Keynes, UK, 2015-5-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — A ground-breaking training scheme is returning for its third consecutive year to offer young people a once in a lifetime opportunity to kick start a career in gardening.
The Garden Academy was set up in 2013 between Homebase and multiple award-winning garden designer Adam Frost to help raise the profile of a career in gardening and inspire the gardening talent of the future.
The 12-month programme will offer 40 people aged 16 and above the chance to spend time learning from Adam about garden planning and design, work with key partners and suppliers to develop detailed product knowledge covering planting and landscaping, as well as learning practical horticultural skills to earn a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Level 1 Award.
At other times, students will be working full-time at Homebase stores up and down the country, putting what they’re learning into practice by helping customers make the most of their outside space.
Garden Academy mentor, Adam Frost explained the thinking behind the programme: “It can be challenging for our industry to attract young people to gardening and show them that it can be an exciting career.
“Over the last two years the Garden Academy students have really impressed me with how much they’ve achieved – especially putting all of the skills they’ve learnt into practice by helping me build two Homebase show gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
“The Academy is a fantastic opportunity for people from different backgrounds and ages to come together to share their passion for gardening and the outdoors and develop it into a great career.”
Graham Heald, Retail Director for Homebase, said: “The Garden Academy has been a great success over the last two years and we’re delighted to be able to offer young people such a fantastic opportunity for the third year running.
“Being able to support and train the future talent of our industry is really important to us. A few of our previous academy students have gone on to work within our plant buying teams, and one of our first year students Kate Saville, is a finalist in this year’s RHS Young Garden Designer of the Year competition, which is an amazing achievement.
“As well as learning and training with some of the best in the business, all students who complete the training scheme will be offered a permanent job at Homebase. “
Sarah Cathcart, RHS Head of Education and Learning, said: “The RHS passionately supports young people starting a career in horticulture, and I’m delighted that the Homebase Garden Academy is using RHS Qualifications to develop the skills of their students. With a shortage of trained and skilled horticulturalists, schemes such as this are key to encouraging the next generation to understand the breadth of careers in horticulture, the exciting opportunities and the immense value to our wider society.”
To apply for a chance to be one of 40 places on the Garden Academy, visit www.homebasegardenacademy.com before Sunday 21 June 2015. Successful applicants will be invited to assessment days in July.
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Homebase is a leading home enhancement retailer with around 58 million transactions a year, selling around 38,000 products for the home and garden. It has 296 large, out-of-town stores throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland and a growing internet offering at www.homebase.co.uk. In the financial year to February 2015, Homebase sales were £1.5 billion and it employed some 17,000 people across the business.
Homebase is part of Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.
About Homebase Garden Academy:
The Homebase Garden Academy is a pioneering scheme set up between Homebase and award-winning garden designer Adam Frost to help raise the profile of a career in gardening, and inspire gardening talent of the future.
The scheme offers apprentices a broad experience of gardening and horticulture. Each month, time will be spent learning from Adam about garden planning and design; a key partner to develop detailed product knowledge covering planting and landscaping; and learning practical horticultural skills to earn a Royal Horticultural Society Level 1 Award.
About the RHS Level 1 Award in Practical Horticulture
Aimed at anyone with an interest in plants and gardening, the RHS Level 1 Award is a practical qualification that seeks to inspire learners and focuses on developing essential horticultural skills. The Award supports and encourages students to develop their horticultural potential and prepares them to progress towards Level 2 and 3 qualifications offered by RHS Qualifications and other awarding bodies.
With an emphasis on showcasing the diverse opportunities a career in horticulture can provide, from hands-on gardener to research scientist, the RHS offers a range of educational choices for anyone wanting to develop their horticultural knowledge and skills. There are no formal entry requirements for RHS qualifications at levels 1 or 2, and all qualifications are designed for part-time study at home or at one of more than 90 centres throughout the UK and Ireland.
For more information on educational opportunities and qualifications offered by the RHS, visit: www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning