Training upgrade urged to help parks adjust to changes of localism agenda

Green space chief focuses on reskilling in rallying call to managers at Green Skills seminar.

Commitment to continued training needs stressed at Green Skills seminar - image: Leicester City Council
Commitment to continued training needs stressed at Green Skills seminar - image: Leicester City Council

Training and skills must be positioned at the heart of future parks delivery if the service is to survive, delegates at last week's Green Skills seminar heard.

Leicester City Council head of parks and green spaces Richard Welburn said reskilling the workforce in line with the local government agenda was a priority.

"Traditional training in sports turf or tree and shrub maintenance will still be relevant but only managers who are tuned in to the language of localism and have realigned strategies will prepare their staff to respond positively to the changes," he added.

Welburn said the need to address the management and leadership skills gap was vital. "It will become more evident as we see many highly-skilled park managers leave the profession in the near future." There is little evidence to suggest the issue was being tackled, he pointed out.

Training providers would have to carry out a similar "stocktake and realignment" of content and relevance, Welburn added. "They should be entering into discussion with park service management," he told delegates.

"It is critical to develop collaborative working between employers, training providers and third-party agencies to ensure that the future training and skills offer is well structured, adequately resourced and relevant to the needs of the parks profession," added Welburn.

He said he expected the public parks sector to look increasingly towards short modular training courses delivered within authorities' own facilities.

Welburn stressed that with public sector contracts increasingly carried out by private sector firms it was vital for evidence of commitment to staff training to be embedded in the specification. Where savings were made by externalising contracts, managers had a duty to ensure standards did not fall, he added.

Ending on a call to action, Welburn said: "Doing what we have always done will not get us through the next few years but being creative and doing things differently may create the impetus we need."

GREEN SKILLS ACTION POINTS

- Make training relevant to new local government agenda.

- Address management and leadership skills gap.

- Include staff training commitments in parks service contracts.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

There are ways to find quality candidates for horticultural jobs if you widen your search parameters, Alan Sargent suggests.

Get set for Saltex 2017

Get set for Saltex 2017

This year's Saltex show at the NEC in Birmingham offers something for everyone, says Sally Drury.

Sargent's Solutions: What is the difference between a head gardener and gardens manager? Part 2

Sargent's Solutions: What is the difference between a head gardener and gardens manager? Part 2

In the second of a two-part article, Alan Sargent looks at the functions of today's gardens manager.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs
Horticulture Week Custodian Awards 2017 - the winners!

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2017 winners.

Products & Kit Resources