GCA launches shop staff e-learning

Garden Centre Association issues proposals to members for web-based staff training scheme.

Some 38 businesses have already shown interest in an e-learning scheme for shop staff training, launched by the Garden Centre Association (GCA).

Set-up fees are £140,000 with costs estimated at £24,000 a year. Costs per centre will be £750 per £1m retail turnover with £150 per £1m ongoing costs.

Project organiser Mike Burks from Castle Gardens said the GCA was aware of and inspired by the Garden Centre Group (GCG) award-winning garden retail e-learning scheme set up in May 2010.

But he added: "I don't think that it would be keen to share it and setting up our own system was preferred." Several thousand GCG staff have completed basic horticulture modules.

The HTA is also looking to develop retail e-learning and held discussions with the GCA, according to business development director Tim Briercliffe. It recently launched three pilot modules for growers to develop a qualification and training method.

However, Burks said: "The feeling was that the HTA was not as far along with the project for retail as we wanted to be but we could still work together in the future."

He said he expected 75 centres to sign up, with a formal proposal going out to all GCA members this week and a possible launch later this year.

E-learning company Kineo will develop the scheme, which will include about 12 horticulture modules and 12 health and safety and other regulations modules.

- Roundup has launched a web-based training programme - the Roundup Academy - designed to provide wholesale and retail staff with a better understanding of weed control and, in turn, secure sales. See www.roundup-garden.com/trade.

Key Stat

Number of Garden Centre Association centres expected to sign up to the e-learning programme - 75 centres.

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