Fund set up to help gardeners pay for additional training

Horticultural charity Perennial has partnered with the Professional Gardeners' Guild Trust (PGGT) to provide a fund for additional training that gardeners need.

The organisations have set up a pilot scheme as a new strand to Perennial's existing Lironi training fund. It will offer funding to enable horticultural employees and students to attend additional short courses which are often legal or industry requirements, such as pesticide/herbicide application and chainsaw certificates.

Perennial director of services Sheila Thompson said: "Quite often students leave college with good horticulture qualifications, but find there are other qualifications they need to get a job. The same applies to people working in horticulture.

"Before the recession, people would often work for one employer and the employer would often pay for training. Now people tend to look for employees who have the qualifications or who are willing to fund themselves. Also a lot of people work for more than one employer."

Perennial will provide a certain level of funding each year and the PGGT will assess the applications and allocate the funds using agreed criteria.

Thompson added: "The aim is to roll this out and partner with other organisations to increase the number of people we can help."

Bristol Zoo garden manager Matthew Bufton has received the first grant, and will attend a World Association of Zoological Horticulture conference in Florida.

He pushed a 35kg trolley of plants over a 10km course to raise money for the trip. Perennial and the PGGT have provided the remaining funding he needed.

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