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Gardening's next generation under threat, says Homebase

Homebase launches ground breaking Garden Academy to bring horticultural careers to young Brits.

Research released today by Homebase has revealed fresh concerns over Britain’s next generation of gardeners.

Two-thirds (64 per cent) of 16-25 year olds are put off by a job that exposes them to the elements in case they got cold or wet, while one in three (33 per cent) simply don’t want to get dirty.

All is not lost though, as a vast number of young people already have experience in the great outdoors, with almost half (47 per cent) having planted vegetables or flowers, and one in four (25 per cent) having looked after their own vegetable patch, allotment or garden.

To change perceptions around outdoor careers, Homebase has joined forces with five time RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner Adam Frost to create a ground breaking Garden Academy.

Looking to achieve what Jamie Oliver did for cooking, the Academy will inspire and nurture a new wave of gardeners for the 21st Century.

“I’m increasingly worried that the next generation of young people are not connecting with what’s outside their back door, so I’m working with Homebase to support the industry and change the image of gardening and horticulture,” says Adam Frost.

“Despite being considered ‘uncool’ by some, gardening has given me an exciting and creative outlet, and I want to show young people what the industry can offer them, whether it’s in garden design, planting or landscaping.”

As well as the Academy students helping Adam build The Homebase Garden – ‘Time to Reflect’ in partnership with Alzheimer’s Society at next year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, time will be spent learning practical horticultural skills from Adam to earn a RHS Level 1 Award.

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

Despite 97 per cent of young people viewing the industry as an uncool career choice, gardening has proved successful for many. Chris Collins, ex-Blue Peter resident gardener, commented: “Over the last thirty years it has given me an amazing career, from work in rainforests in West Africa, skyscrapers in Tokyo, Westminster Abbey to the Blue Peter garden.

“The physical aspect of horticulture is one of its most satisfying, as you can see the results of your efforts.”

Further digging found some geographical issues, with 42 per cent of young adults not wanting to do a job without a fixed location, and a third (34 per cent) refusing to travel more than 30 minutes to their place of work.

Mick Hunt, Head Groundsman at Lord’s Cricket Ground, urged young people to spend as much time as possible outside, saying: “For anyone who is keen to pursue a lively and practical outdoor life, I encourage you to get outside, get your hands dirty and get involved.

“My job cannot be learnt from a textbook, only by practical experience. Lord’s hosts in the region of sixty days’ of cricket, and it is hugely rewarding and a privilege to prepare pitches for some of the best cricketers in the world.”

Source : Home Retail Group

15 November 2013
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