Graduates must work for free to break tough jobs market - Gardeners' World winning student

A student garden designer who won best in show for her garden in the Birmingham Borders competition at Gardeners' World Live says graduates may be forced to work for free to break into the tough jobs market.

Emma Hall won a Silver-Gilt Grenfell for her Battle for the Bees at Gardeners' World Live 2010 - image courtesy of Moulton College
Emma Hall won a Silver-Gilt Grenfell for her Battle for the Bees at Gardeners' World Live 2010 - image courtesy of Moulton College

Moulton College horticulture and garden design student Emma Hall won a Silver-Gilt Grenfell for her Battle for the Bees border at the NEC show last month but despite her success she said the job market remains her biggest concern.

"On the back of doing well at this competition I have thought I will go for it now and really try and become a garden designer.  But the hardest thing will be finding the first client – you may have to work unpaid for a bit if you are desperate and you cant get the job because quite often you need to get the experience."

Hall was one of two Moulton students selected for the Birmingham Borders competition which is a unique feature of GW Live.

It involves designing a three metre square border on a budget of £500 using predominantly soft landscaping.

Hall’s classmate Anna Harrison took a Silver Grenfell for her Footprints from the Past border.

Their mentor, Moulton College senior Horticulture lecturer Adrian Stockdale said the competition is ideal for student designers in terms of size and budget.

Hall, who won despite never visiting a garden show in her life, added:  "I have always been into gardening but never been at a show because I didn’t have the money to.  It was great experience and it was all new to me, just learning what you need to do.  It has given me more confidence so hopefully with more training…who knows?!"


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