The Garden & Leisure Group (G&L) believes that any business is only as good as its people. Every member of staff is a guardian to the company's reputation and the only safe way to ensure that customers get the right information every time is through training.
G&L's commitment to training encompasses four specific areas: specialist training for plants, pets and aquatics; management training; one-day development courses; and statutory training in areas such as health and safety and forklift truck operation.
G&L has comprehensive training in place for its plants, pets and aquatics departments. It is essential for the health and well-being of the animals, fish and plants that staff have a high level of knowledge. It is also essential that they are capable of passing on their knowledge to customers.
All plant staff at all levels are required to hold or train towards the HTA Plant Care Award. Although many staff already possess a qualification in horticulture, this also covers retail plant skills. G&L runs regular workshops to assist in the coursework as many staff have found it quite daunting to return to study.
In the pet departments, all staff must have or be working towards the Pet Care Trust City & Guilds qualification. This covers all aspects of small animal care and husbandry.
The aquatic teams study for OATA certificates or advanced diploma in fish health and care, covering water quality and fish health.
The courses are compulsory and a condition of employment but employees receive a pay incentive to pass them. As soon as they pass the exams the employees move onto an improved pay scale.
Management training is part of the strategy of succession planning and is crucial to ensuring consistent string leadership at all levels. Cedar Associates runs Garden & Leisure's management training and places are very sought after. The courses have been very successful, giving opportunities within the company and providing some exceptional managers.
The company also has a budget for sponsoring employees in other training courses, paying 80 per cent of fees for accounting, Open University, evening classes, languages and other relevant courses.
Hillier Garden Centres - Hillier Training and Development Department
Grow Grow is an initiative set up by a group of horticultural organisations to inform about the range of career opportunities horticulture has to offer. The web portal is backed by a schools pack that includes posters and careers information leaflets.