Landscape company Bowles & Wyer has introduced the Hort Academy - a pioneering training programme for landscape and horticultural professionals designed to tackle the widening skills gap in the horticulture industry.
Currently open to everyone within the Gardening & Aftercare department at Bowles & Wyer, with a plan to roll it out across the company and with a future industry-wide potential, the Hort Academy will offer a degree of expertise and personal development that will be the first of its kind in the landscape sector.
The curriculum, which has been developed by Jeff Stephenson, Head of Horticulture & Aftercare at Bowles & Wyer, offers training for everyone regardless of their ability and previous experience. For the staff in the company's Gardening & Aftercare department, it is designed to foster a deep knowledge of plants and how to nurture and tend them. For the designers and landscape architects within the company the ambition is to build a firm foundation in horticulture that can benefit their design work.
The Hort Academy has been launched at a time of a growing skills crisis in the horticulture industry. Speaking about the issue, Jeff Stephenson said: "Like many in our industry, we’re fully committed to ensuring gardening, landscaping and horticulture are viewed as credible, professional careers. By launching the Hort Academy we’ve placed ourselves firmly at the forefront of this important movement. We hope our Academy will go some way to addressing the deepening skills shortage in the industry and to improving the level of expertise across the sector as a whole"
The ambitious programme will cover horticultural skills and theory as well as CPD, attendance at seminars, workshops and regular trips to nurseries. Training will be the equivalent of one day per month and will be on-going. Jeff is also developing an online, modular, training programme for staff to access at their own pace. The intention is to bring every member of staff up to an equivalent standard and for everyone to have the same knowledge base through both hands-on practice and self-guided learning. For more experienced staff this could mean refreshing knowledge they may have gained at college. For others, this could be a completely new area of study.
CASE STUDY: Melanie Peck
"One of the main reasons I joined Bowles & Wyer was because of its commitment to staff training and development. It’s important that as gardeners we keep up to date on products and best practices and utilise them in our day-to-day work. It keeps us passionate about what we do and reminds us why we are gardeners”. To receive the case study please email Hind + Osen
CASE STUDY: Eduardo Barbato
“The professional knowledge I’ve already gained being part of the Hort Academy is huge. I have a far greater understanding of tasks I have been doing for years. It has also given me the opportunity to learn entirely new skills, which not only make me better at my job, but benefit our clients too.” To receive the case study please email Hind + Osen
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