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Garden Academy launched by Homebase

DIY retailer Homebase has launched a Garden Academy in which up to 20 apprentices will learn from award-winning garden designer Adam Frost.

The academy, for people aged 16 and above, is a pioneering scheme set up by Homebase in partnership with Frost to help raise the profile of a career in gardening and to inspire the gardening talent of the future.

The scheme will offer apprentices a broad experience of gardening and horticulture and each month, time will be spent learning from Frost about garden planning and design. This will help apprentices develop detailed product knowledge covering planting, landscaping and practical horticultural skills as they work towards gaining a Royal Horticultural Society Level 1 Award.

At other times, apprentices will be working full-time at their local Homebase store to gain experience of garden retailing, where they will learn detailed plant knowledge to help customers make the best choices for their garden.

Explaining the thinking behind the Garden Academy, Frost said: "I am increasingly worried that our next generation of young people are not connecting with what’s outside their back door.

“This is not only a social issue, but increasingly a challenge for our industry as young people are not excited by careers in gardening. I was really inspired by Homebase’s store colleagues who helped me build The Homebase Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and realised that by working together, we have the opportunity to do something special and inspire these apprentices through a variety of experiences to go on and do great things.”

Matthew Compton, Homebase trading director for Garden, added: “We are delighted to be able to work with our Chelsea gold medal winner Adam Frost on the Garden Academy apprenticeship scheme.

“As one of the UK’s leading garden retailers, we are committed to championing our industry as a great career choice. The Garden Academy provides an exciting opportunity for people to make the most of their passion for the outdoors, regardless of their gardening experience.”

Although successful applicants will have a passion for gardening, they are not required to have a lot of gardening experience. Throughout the scheme apprentices will receive their own personal set of gardening tools, and will also be given a video camera and net book to record a diary of their experience.

Those completing the scheme to a satisfactory level will also have a job in their local store at the end of the training period.

Source: The Retail Bulletin

05 September 2013
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