Professional Gardeners' Guild members could offer more practical training

Maintaining practical horticultural skills is top of the agenda for the Professional Gardeners' Guild (PGG) as members consider assisting colleges in practical training.

Speaking at the guild's AGM, chairman Tony Arnold said: "We continue to support the Grow Initiative, which is designed to get people into a career in horticulture. It's still going in the right direction and it's still looking positive.

"We are beginning to make progress and the next target is to educate teachers that gardeners are not under-achievers and it's a good career."

He added: "Going around the schools and encouraging people to get into horticulture is a great idea - within the Grow Initiative, they are looking for ambassadors to go around schools and encourage this."

PGG founding member Alan Mason said: "In education, standards appear to have gone down, and I do feel that the PGG and its members and the gardens where we work have an opportunity to get a hold of education establishments, get them down to earth and teach them some more about practical gardening."

Guild secretary Margi Comeau said: "There may be the opportunity for us to help out with the new RHS practical level one qualifications."

Arnold added: "It's amazingly difficult and all we can do is chip away at the old block. I'd really like to see gardeners, on recognition and salaries, compatible with other trades. We have to change perceptions of land-based industries."

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