The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Westland, Bayer, Doff, Sinclair, Monsanto and Vitax are part of the CPA's garden group, which has trained around 5,000 garden centre staff with the Garden Care Certificate of Competence.
Now the group has introduced the Guardian BASIS advanced certificate, which it said was timely because the EU draft directive on the sustainable use of pesticides calls for the creation of training and awareness-raising of distributors and better information from retailers to customers.
The course includes modules on pests and diseases, control options, legislation and safety, growing media and plant nutrition and water wildlife and the environment.
CPA home gardens committee secretary David Evans said: "We aim to raise the bar."
Scotts head of regulatory affairs Sean McCarthy said: "Our aim is to have a trained person in all the large garden centres."
- HW, in conjunction with the CPA, has three free places to offer to senior retailers on the first Guardian BASIS course, to be held in Lincolnshire in May/June. Places are worth £345 each. Winners will be informed by 30 April. Accommodation, travel and subsidence are not included. Send your name, job title and experience level to firstname.lastname@example.org.