The Lantra Level Three Heritage Horticulture Award has been developed by the Heritage Horticulture Skills Scheme (HHSS) and is a practical and hands-on qualification for specialists in heritage horticulture.
It is the first award of its kind designed to combine a real understanding of plant life and gardening with a thorough knowledge of history and heritage, according to HHSS.
HHSS is a five-year initiative which will come to a close at the end of 2015. It has seven member gardens across Wales which have given hands-on heritage horticulture training to more than 50 people – many of whom have gone on to get jobs in key locations across the UK, including National Trust and English Heritage sites.
The qualification has been created to highlight the practical skills of heritage horticulturalists and will be available to gardeners across the UK from this spring onwards.
As one of the key sponsors of this year’s Malvern Spring Festival, HHSS will formally launch the new qualification in the presence of celebrity chef and heritage enthusiast Raymond Blanc at the show’s festival theatre on the morning of Thursday 7 May.
It will also host a graduation ceremony for trainees with special guest Carol Klein on Saturday 9 May.
HHSS will also have a large stand in the Get Going, Get Growing area of the show where current trainees will be showcasing their work to visitors.
Andrew Dixey, chairman of HHSS, said: "The skills required to be a professional heritage horticulturalist at the top of your game are specific and specialist. To preserve and enhance heritage horticulture of the future, we require highly trained gardeners who are experts in both the theory and practice of the art. This new qualification achieves just this and we hope that in the future employers in the sector set the qualification as benchmark for recruitment."
The qualification is designed as an A Level standard qualification and is available across the UK and Europe. To register for the qualification, the cost is around £100 per person. Trainees are expected to undertake around 80 hours of guided learning and assessment over a period of up to three months at a sponsoring site of heritage horticulture interest. They will be trained and assessed at their place of work (or where they volunteer) and will be required to submit a workbook on their key projects evidencing their skills and accomplishments with video, diary and photographic evidence.