Leicester City Council is launching an apprenticeship scheme to attract ethnic and disadvantaged minorities to the parks sector.
The council parks department has teamed up with Reaseheath College, Nantwich, to provide training for eight apprentices, aged 16 to 22, starting in January 2006.
Six places will be earmarked for people from ethic minorities and disadvantaged communities.
Head of parks and green spaces Richard Welburn said: “We are targeting these communities, having realised there is a lack of diversity within our department.”
Existing staff are being trained to act as mentors in different niche areas, ranging from arboriculture to office administration.
Training will last for two years, with each apprentice working to NVQ Level 2 in either a fine turf or amenity horticulture specialism.
The council will release details via Midland Asian Television and other Asian media. It has also commissioned an information DVD.
Reaseheath horticulture section manager Ian Benison said: “There does seem to be a lack of ethnic minorities in the industry and it would also be nice to see more women coming in. But it doesn’t matter what background our students come from, as long as they have an interest in horticulture.”
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