Lack of staff endangers projects

Dire workplace shortages threaten some of Britain's highest-profile landscape projects, according to industry leaders who have launched one of their biggest-ever recruitment drives.

The campaign I Want to Be a Landscape Architect will target students, teachers, careers advisers and parents. It will include a large-scale email blitz, the launch of a website and toolkits for designers visiting schools.

The Landscape Institute (LI), supported by the HTA and CABE Space, launched the push after it surveyed members and found more than half had to turn down work through lack of staff.

"The findings are much worse than we expected," said an LI representative. "Staffing problems could jeopardise the Government's housing targets and the success of big projects like Crossrail.

"If more than half our firms face staffing shortages and are turning away work now, what's it going to be like in five years?"

LI president Nigel Thorne said "natural soulmates" like the HTA and Natural England were in similar straits, with shortages crippling all levels from grassroots horticulture to designers, managers and scientists.

"We have to go beyond students or there will be no advice and guidance. Sadly, professional courses take longer at a time when the Government is trying to push students through education quicker."

Even the highest-profile practices, like Martha Schwartz's UK base, were turning down jobs because of the lack of staff, said Thorne, who spoke of a "lost generation" of professionals.

"The Government destroyed local-authority landscape architecture and parks departments and this is when people drifted away from the professions.

"There has never been a more important time to train as a landscape architect. Yet I worry when I see ads for senior staff with more than three years' experience. Where does the seniority come from in that time?"

The website www.iwanttobea will be launched in April.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - regulations and legislative requirements underline the professional status of landscape contractors and gardeners

Sargent's solutions - regulations and legislative requirements underline the professional status of landscape contractors and gardeners

Regulations benefit individual gardeners and landscapers as well as the wider industry, Alan Sargent explains.



Customers do not often know about the different leaf colours and shapes offered by hollies, Miranda Kimberley reports.



These heralds of spring are highly suited to being planted in tree circles, grass and rock gardens, says Miranda Kimberley.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Horticulture Week Top 50 Landscape and maintenance contractors

See our exclusive ranking of landscape and maintenance contractors by annual turnover. 

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.


Free to subscribers, the essential guide for professional plant buyers

Download your copy

Products & Kit Resources