The structured programme of training for its own staff was almost oversubscribed when more than 50% of the staff applied to join. Palmstead has now developed two streams: a hands-on horticulture stream and a second stream for developing leadership skills for supervisory staff.
If this is successful in its pilot year Palmstead may widen audience to include landscape professionals too. The hands on horticulture sessions are led by marketing manager Nick Coslett with help from other members of the nursery and external trainers.
"Staff training will help to create a wider understanding of what we do as a business," Mark Hutchinson, the managing director, said. "Our motto applies to each person, each team, the company and Palmstead Nurseries within the horticultural industry."
Once a month the hands-on group meet for lectures - in which they are encouraged to actively participative with their knowledge and experience - on national plant specifications; growing media; propagation; biosecurity; the science behind our plant trials; pests and diseases and their control; in-depth assessment of the crop from its value to who buys the plants and the issues that customers face from plant handling to plant establishment.
The academic training of 10 full-day modules will cover leadership skills, which looks at the staff developing themselves, their teams and how they can be more effective now and in future as the
company evolves; presentation skills; managing for performance; problem solving; employment
law; communication; and building high-performance teams.
"We want to create a wider understanding of what we are doing to give all staff a broad understanding of the business, to innovate to be the best that we can be and provide the best level of service and products that we can."