Homebase is to launch a new Garden Academy apprenticeship scheme in a bid to inspire a next generation of UK gardeners.
The academy, for people aged 16 and above, has been set up between Homebase and Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner Adam Frost to help raise the profile of a career in gardening.
The scheme offers apprentices a broad experience of gardening and horticulture. Each month, time will be spent learning from Frost about garden planning and design; a key partner to develop detailed product knowledge covering planting and landscaping; and learning practical horticultural skills to earn 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.
Explaining the thinking behind the Garden Academy, Adam says: “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 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, said: “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.”
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.
To apply for a place on the Garden Academy, visit www.homebasegardenacademy.com before Monday 16 September 2013.