Industry charity funds horticultural traineeship at West Dean Gardens

Perennial has funded its first traineeship at West Dean Gardens, which will allow trainees to receive high-quality on-the-job training while working full-time on the same terms and conditions as other staff.

West Dean Gardens' Pear Arch in the walled garden. Image: West Dean Gardens
West Dean Gardens' Pear Arch in the walled garden. Image: West Dean Gardens

The UK’s only charity dedicated to helping all horticulturists in times of need will pay for a £16,500 salary and RHS course fees for the two-year fixed-term.

The new trainee will assist in day-to-day cultivation, maintenance and development of the gardens and will learn from leading gardens manager Jim Buckland, who, along with West Dean gardens supervisor Sarah Wain won the prestigious Horticulture Week Custodian Award in the inaugural HW Custodian Awards last year. Perennial is charity partner for the awards.

Director of services at Perennial Sheila Thomson said: "We are delighted to be able to offer this new traineeship and look forward to working with the team at West Dean Gardens for many years to come. We see this placement as an important development in Perennial’s on-going commitment to make a long-term contribution to horticulture training. We seek training partnerships that offer practical experience coupled with a recognized qualification that will further students’ future employment prospects."

The funding is provided through Perennial’s Lironi Training Fund, established in 2009 with a generous legacy left to Perennial by Joan Lironi.

Buckland said: "We are very pleased to be working with Perennial to offer a future horticulturist the chance to learn in the wonderful gardens here. The work will be varied, encompassing the full range of horticultural skills required by those wishing to pursue a career in horticulture, all learned in the stimulating environment of our internationally recognised gardens. I look forward to welcoming a new member of the team to West Dean."

The gardens are part of The Edward James Foundation, a charitable education trust located on the 2,590 hectare West Dean Estate near Chichester in West Sussex. 

This year's HW Custodian Awards take place next Wednesday 28 June at Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire. The awards are co-located with Parks & Gardens Live. For further information and tickets, click here. 

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