Currently open to everyone within the company’s Gardening & Aftercare department, with plans to roll it out across the company and eventually the wider industry, the Hort Academy will offer a unique curriculum, developed by Bowles & Wyer’s head of Horticulture & Aftercare Jeff Stephenson.
For the staff in the Gardening & Aftercare department, the course is designed to foster a deep knowledge of plants and how to nurture and tend them. For the designers and landscape architects within the company, the ambition is to build a firm foundation in horticulture that can benefit their design work.
“Like many in our industry, we’re fully committed to ensuring gardening, landscaping and horticulture are viewed as credible, professional careers,” said Stephenson. “By launching the Hort Academy we’ve placed ourselves firmly at the forefront of this important movement. We hope our Academy will go some way to addressing the deepening skills shortage in the industry and to improving the level of expertise across the sector as a whole.”
The course will cover horticultural skills and theory, as well as organising visits to seminars, workshops and nurseries. Training will be the equivalent of one day per month and will be complemented by an online training programme for staff to access at their own pace. The intention is to bring every member of staff up to an equivalent standard and for everyone to have the same knowledge base through both hands-on practice and self-guided learning.
Bowles & Wyer chief executive John Wyer said: "We founded the Hort Academy because we are committed to building successful careers for all our staff. We know that when they realise their potential and thrive, our business thrives too. But we have also been careful not to lose the joy of horticulture. We want everyone at Bowles & Wyer to share our passion for creating and tending stunning landscapes.”