Five times more people have applied so far compared to last year.
The Garden Academy was set up between Homebase and award-winning garden designer Adam Frost to help raise the profile of a career in horticulture and inspire talent of the future.
Participants are given work in a local Homebase store and spend time learning about retail, planting and landscaping while working towards a Royal Horticultural Society Level 1 Award. They also benefit from workshops with Frost. The first academy group worked with him on this year’s Homebase show garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Frost said: ""I’m increasingly worried that our next generation of young people are not connecting with what’s outside their back door.
"This is not only a social issue, but increasingly a challenge for our industry as young people are not excited by careers in gardening.
"I’ve been really inspired by what this year’s Garden Academy students have achieved – especially putting all of the skills they’ve learnt into practice by helping to build the Homebase show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
"The Academy is a great opportunity for people from different backgrounds to come together to share their passion for the outdoors and develop it into a career."
Homebase head of garden Matthew Compton said the academy’s first year had been a great success and offered a great foot on the ladder for the next generation of gardeners.
Applicants must be at least 16 and have a passion for gardening, but do not need qualifications or a lot of gardening experience.
Garden Academy graduates are also guaranteed a job at their local store at the end of their training.