Careers in landscaping and horticulture can prove engaging and exciting, with opportunities at all levels in a breadth of areas such as greenkeeping, groundsmanship, grounds maintenance and landscape architecture, in both the private and public sectors.
However, the industry must overcome several challenges if it is to grow over the next ten years. With 60% of the workforce in amenity horticulture aged over 40, and 41% in production horticulture aged over 50, the industry must draw upon a new generation of younger people in order to flourish.
Approximately 85% of horticultural businesses employ fewer than ten people, so it’s critical that new employees entering the industry are equipped with the skills to support organisations to grow and remain profitable. The industry is seeking people who have the ability to develop further higher level skills in areas such as management and communication. Furthermore, production horticulture is becoming more technologically advanced, so it’s important that people not only have an understanding of science but are also comfortable working with IT systems.
One way that organisations can attract young people and provide them with valuable skills and experience, whilst simultaneously delivering business benefits, is through an apprenticeship. Lantra’s flexible work-based Horticulture Apprenticeship is designed to fit around employers’ business activities and work commitments and delivers numerous benefits. In addition to plugging skills gaps, the Horticulture Apprenticeship framework has been designed with industry to provide learners with the requisite knowledge and experience to support future progression.
Taking on an apprentice can lead to increased productivity, efficiency and employee motivation and offers a cost-effective way of developing the business. Training apprentices can also prove less expensive than hiring skilled staff, leading to reduced training and recruitment costs. Lantra’s Horticulture Apprenticeship framework can support both large employers that already offer apprenticeship programmes and wish to take on additional staff, as well as small to medium sized employers who need to maintain a highly-skilled workforce in times of economic downturn.
According to figures released by the National Apprenticeship Service, a nationwide survey revealed that 76% of employers believe apprenticeships provide higher productivity, whilst 83% rely on their apprenticeship programme to develop the skilled workers that they need for the future. Furthermore, 88% believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated workforce.
Jo-Anne Bryan, Lantra’s project manager for apprenticeships, said: “Lantra’s Horticulture Apprenticeship provides learners and employers alike with various progression opportunities. It provides on-the-job training so employees can contribute to the business whilst gaining the skills and experience that the employer needs.”