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Garden Centre Group launches gardening retail apprenticeship scheme

The UK’s largest horticultural apprenticeship opportunity has been launched this week – with Pershore College, part of Warwickshire College, being chosen to provide the training.

The college, in association with The Garden Centre Group, has announced that it will need to recruit a massive 175 young people to fill the places available in its 135 Garden Centre stores and four production nurseries. And the good news does not stop there, with The Garden Centre Group pledging to extend the scheme even further later this year if the pilot project proves a success.

The apprenticeship will train the recruits in all aspects of gardening centre retail, with around 20 key topics being covered from customer care to soil science, fencing, propagation, machinery, watering and nutrition.

There will be opportunities at 135 garden centres across the country from as far south as Cornwall to Northumberland in the northern counties. And because of the vast area the apprenticeships will cover, Warwickshire College will be working in partnership with other land-based colleges across the country to deliver the training.

The Garden Centre Group may not be a household name for many, but their stores may be very familiar. The group operates stores including Wyevale, Blooms and Country Gardens.

Laura Savage, delivery manager for Land-based industries at Warwickshire College, said: “Pershore College is extremely pleased to be working with The Garden Centre Group on this apprenticeship scheme.

“This is a first of its kind, a really exciting opportunity for people who are interested in working in horticulture within a garden centre retail environment. Apprentices will receive training that is above and beyond traditional Horticultural Apprenticeship programmes enabling them to fully understand their customers’ needs by developing the horticultural background to give the correct advice – while also earning a wage”.

“This is the most unique and bespoke horticultural apprenticeship opportunity available for people wanting to work in the retail sector. There will be strong management opportunities available for suitable candidates too.”

Warwickshire College has an outstanding reputation for training apprentices in a vast range of areas from traditional trades such as bricklaying, plumbing and carpentry to business administration, marketing, landscaping, photography, horse care, accounting and floristry.

To find out more about The Garden Centre Group Apprenticeship programme please visit the website: www.thegardencentregroup.co.uk/careers/apprenticeship-programme – all applications are to be made through The National Apprenticeship Service www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Source : Association of Colleges West Midlands
http://aocwestmidlands.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/major-gardening-retail-apprenticeship-scheme-launched-at-pershore-college-part-of-warwickshire-college/

20 February 2012
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