Organisations called on to support new Grow website

A key player behind the new Grow website, which aims to promote horticulture as an exciting and dynamic industry for young people to join, has called for more organisations to provide financial support to drive the initiative forward.

Grow head of marketing Leigh Morris said: "The site will continue to evolve and we want the best minds and organisations to help it keep developing."

He added: "It's a no-brainer for colleges to get on board. How can you afford to not have a link to this website, to bring people in?"

The cross-media brand Grow was launched last week at the fourth annual Green Skills Seminar on 26 November.

At the centre of the campaign is the Grow website, which was designed by marketing agency Idea and built and administered by Horticulture Week. The website includes industry job profiles, describes the diversity of roles available in horticulture and links to job adverts.

Speaking at the Green Skills seminar, campaign figurehead Chris Beardshaw told delegates: "When I was at school and said I wanted to join the gardening club and do biology to prepare for a career in horticulture my dep- uty head said 'but you're not in the remedial stream'. Clearly those in gardening are seen as second-class students. I want to help the profession break out of that perception."

He added: "This website will get the message out about how diverse and fundamental horticulture is to a very broad audience and it will appeal to people from 8 to 88."

Idea managing director Ciaran Flanagan showed a proposed advertising campaign, teacher packs and a range of merchandise, including laptop covers and Ipod Nano jackets.

HW publisher Richard Watts said the magazine had "become involved in the initiative for the same reason as all the organisations in this room - to help the industry thrive".

HW was chosen to build the site because it produces the Careers in Horticulture guide and runs the Horticulture Jobs website, which is a component of the Grow portal. HW will also maintain the site.

There are three packages available: organisations can pay £5,000 to join the steering group or £1,000 for standard Grow affiliated membership. The joining fee for colleges is £7,000 as it includes advertising on the course database, which will be added in February.

RHS director of science and learning Simon Thornton-Wood said: "Get involved now - don't end up later in the year struggling to work on your own when we could be working together."

- Organisations that would like to feature on the website should email to comment on this story.

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