For the first time, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), The Prince’s Trust and agricultural college, Askham Bryan College, have joined forces to help unemployed 16-25 year-olds, in North Yorkshire, find work in horticulture as part of a new pilot programme set to roll-out nationally.
The RHS is hosting the training programme, “Get into Horticulture”, at The Bramall Learning Centre at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, which is funded by Platinum Patrons of The Trust, The Bramall’s. Askham Bryan College, which is the fastest growing land-based college in the country, is delivering the programme.
Students, recruited by The Prince’s Trust, are taking part in a three week programme of workshops and activities designed to increase skills, confidence and knowledge as well as to help them find employment within the horticultural industry after the training has finished.
A 12-strong first group of students have already started their training. During week one, they took part in team-building exercises and developed enterprise skills by planting up alpine troughs which they will sell at the RHS Plant Centre. The final week will see the group job searching, brushing-up their CVs and sitting mock interviews. The course will end on a high, with a celebratory event, on Friday 22 February.
The team have been on work experience and three of the trainees will be offered volunteer opportunities at RHS Garden Harlow Carr Plant Centre with the view of continuing to develop key employability skills and possibly securing permanent, paid employment. Other members of the group have been on placement with Harrogate Borough Council and are being interviewed for seasonal jobs.
Ruth Evans, Director of Education, Funding and Communities, said:
We’re so pleased to be playing a part in this fantastic new programme working for the first time with two brilliant partners to help young people out of work find employment. We’re only two weeks in, and we’ve had a really positive response so far and all trainees are picking up key skills and building the sort of confidence that’ll allow them to flourish in their new positions. We want to run similar initiatives at all four RHS Gardens in order to help change the lives of many more people.
Lucy Hornsby, of The Prince’s Trust, said:
There are currently just under one in four (24 per cent) young people who are unemployed in Yorkshire and The Humber. Our vital partnerships with organisation such as the Royal Horticultural Society and Askham Bryan College ensure that we are able to run much needed programmes like ‘Get into’ to give young people the skills and confidence they need to move closer to a job. Horticulture is a thriving industry and one that can provide young people with a successful and fulfilling career.
One young person, Shane Ashe, from Ripon, who was unemployed before taking the course, said:
The ‘Get into Horticulture’ programme has been brilliant so far and I’ve learned so much. I have always been interested in gardening and plants but I didn’t think about it as a career. Being unemployed was very tough so I’m glad I’ve been able to take this course, as I now have skills, more confidence and a great CV so that I can go on to hopefully get my first job in the industry.