Future of garden centre degree course hangs in balance

This year's foundation degree in retail horticulture management will not be run and the future of the only garden centre degree course is now in doubt after founder Ken Crafer left his post as head of horticulture at Kingston Maurward College.

The new horticulture head is Joanna Jeffrey. Crafer, who set up the course, is working with small businesses on behalf of the college. Bournemouth University validated the course.

"It has been a tough year for retail and the course has dropped down the list of priorities," said Crafer. He added that tuition fees are rising and it is harder to justify for retailers to pay for training.

Four people completed the course in 2012 but they are the only ones to have passed the foundation degree since it launched in 2009. Crafer said Garden Centre Association e-learning is one good education path to bridge the skills gap between retail and horticulture. He added that horticulture needs to develop better career paths to attract better people.

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