RHS director general Sue Biggs said she found it "staggering" that, at a time of high youth unemployment, the government was not doing more to promote careers and qualifications in the horticultural sector, which, she said, had more skilled vacancies that it can fill in the UK despite the difficult economic conditions.
Hillview Garden Centres CEO Boyd Douglas Davis who was due to address the conference today said the garden centre industry employed a lot of young people in part time roles and needed to ensure they show them the "interesting side of the industry".
He added: "At garden centres, young people can get experience of plants, people, catering, finance, or as a chef – the career possibilities are endless. If we just have young people pushing trolleys or working on the till, we need to think more about how we interact with them."
Davis also said that garden centres should do more to engage school careers officers by attending school careers days or inviting careers officers to garden centres to "show them what we can do".
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