Kew horticulture careers apprentice day attracts record numbers

The World of Horticulture and its opportunities apprentice day at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew attracted 200 apprentices and trainees to hear about to see behind the scenes at Kew Gardens and hear about careers in the industry.

Speakers who work in a variety of roles in horticulture described their perspective of a career in the profession. Then delegates saw behind the scenes at Kew, talking to staff working in plant propagation, working with endangered plants, garden design in a botanic garden, managing the tree collections, dealing with plant health and biosecurity, working in display glasshouses, working with alpine plants, caring for the turf at Kew and working in public engagement at the Evolution Garden.

Organiser Mike Fitt, chairman of the Royal Parks Guild, said the aim of the masterclass series is to enable apprentices and trainees to meet each other and together, explore topics they may not encounter day to day but are related to their chosen career in horticulture.

"It is an opportunity for them to engage with specialists in the field and learn more about the science and art of horticulture, its practical aspects and the diverse range of career opportunities that are available."

Speakers included Kew nursery supervisor Tom Pickering, Kew diploma student and career-changer former dancer Faye Adams, Kew arborism student Georgi Ennis, Royal Parks apprentice Cecily Eltringham, Perennial York Gate head gardener Ben Preston and former Kew student Miranda Janatka, who now writes for Gardeners World magazine.

Kew director of horticulture, learning and operations Richard Barley said a horticulture career gave a proactive way of making a difference to the future health of natural systems and happiness of people: "The ability to do something can never be under-estimated. You should be empowered by that."

Delegates included trainees from gardens and parks including Kew, Royal Parks, National Trust and the Historic and Botanic Garden Training Programme. Exhibitors included the Landscape Institute and Professional Gardeners Guild.

Backers of the event, which is held annually, included Chelsea Physic Garden, London College of Garden Design, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Royal Parks, Kew Guild, London in Bloom, City of London, London Gardens Network, Landscape Show, Worshipful Company of Gardeners, IOG, Perennial and Chiswick Houses and Gardens.

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