Guild blasts plans to force the unemployed into gardening

Professional Gardeners' Guild chairman Tony Arnold is the latest industry figure to slam the coalition Government's proposals to draft in unemployed people for gardening.

"It makes me extremely angry that people in these positions pay such low esteem to the skills required to be a professional gardener. It devalues and demeans the whole industry," he said.

"It makes the training and qualifications that gardeners go through to do their job worthless and it's creating jobs in the sector for people who don't know an iota about gardening. Gardeners are now lumped into the same standard and level as street orderlies."

He added: "It makes me so angry that there's an industry working hard to make itself more appealing to talented young people yet here we are being told that anybody can do it because unemployed people who can't find work are doing it.

"All of that does not make for a very appetising career. Whether you are a gardener or a road sweeper, you are doing a very valuable job and these plans just devalue this."

A Department for Work & Pensions representative responded: "These are reforms that will be implemented in 2012 and the jobs suggested would be ones to benefit the community, which could include gardening. The aim is to give people the type of skills that being in a job gives you. The assumption would be that the workers would be supervised."

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