Homebase academy aims to make gardening cool to 97 per cent who find it untrendy as a career

Homebase Chelsea 2014

Homebase has launched a Garden Academy to help build horticulture careers, after the company's poll found 97 per cent thought horticulture was an "uncool" career choice.

Research released by Homebase has found two-thirds (64 per cent) of 16-25 year olds are put off by a job that exposes them to the elements in case they got cold or wet, while one in three (33 per cent) simply don't want to get dirty.

But almost half (47 per cent) have planted vegetables or flowers, and one in four (25 per cent) having looked after their own vegetable patch, allotment or garden.

To change perceptions around outdoor careers, Homebase has joined forces with five time RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner Adam Frost to create a Garden Academy.

He said: "I'm increasingly worried that the next generation of young people are not connecting with what's outside their back door, so I'm working with Homebase to support the industry and change the image of gardening and horticulture.

"Despite being considered 'uncool' by some, gardening has given me an exciting and creative outlet, and I want to show young people what the industry can offer them, whether it's in garden design, planting or landscaping."

As well as the Academy students helping Adam build The Homebase Garden - 'Time to Reflect' in partnership with Alzheimer's Society at next year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show, time will be spent learning practical horticultural skills from Frost to earn a RHS Level 1 Award.

Homebase garden trading director Matthew Compton said: "As one of the UK's leading garden retailers, we are committed to championing our industry as a great career choice, and the Garden Academy provides an exciting opportunity for people to make the most of their passion for the outdoors, regardless of their gardening experience."

Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins said: "Over the last 30 years it has given me an amazing career, from work in rainforests in West Africa, skyscrapers in Tokyo, Westminster Abbey to the Blue Peter garden.

"The physical aspect of horticulture is one of its most satisfying, as you can see the results of your efforts."

Some 42 per cent of young adults did not want to do a job without a fixed location, and a third (34 per cent) refusing to travel more than 30 minutes to their place of work.

Mick Hunt, head groundsman at Lord's Cricket Ground, urged young people to spend as much time as possible outside, saying: "For anyone who is keen to pursue a lively and practical outdoor life, I encourage you to get outside, get your hands dirty and get involved.

"My job cannot be learnt from a textbook, only by practical experience. Lord's hosts in the region of sixty days' of cricket, and it is hugely rewarding and a privilege to prepare pitches for some of the best cricketers in the world."

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