Reaseheath opens degree course

Reaseheath College is bucking the cutbacks trend by launching a foundation degree in horticulture leadership and innovation.

The two-year course is awaiting accreditation from Harper Adams College and is set to start in September, with space for 15 students.

Course leader Sarah Hopkinson said the degree was created as a stepping stone to a career in horticulture with a focus on sustainable practice and new technology.

"In market research, the industry said the course was exactly what was needed to fill the skills gap," she added. "It's about taking horticulture in a positive direction because the perception of the industry is so negative."

The Cheshire-based college has also revamped its level 3 horticulture course (see box). Head of horticulture Iain Clarke said: "Due to environmental changes we need to look at sustainable methods of extending our crop range and to secure future UK sources because we are going to face shortfalls in supply.

"We need commercial producers to supply the domestic gardening market and the UK cut flower and pot plant industry, which is worth £2.2bn a year. There are also opportunities for medicinal crop growers for the pharmaceutical industry."


- Commercial modules include plant propagation, advanced nursery stock production, retail merchandising and plant health and protection.

- Landscaping and construction modules include sustainable development, ornamentals and landscape features.

- Turf construction and maintenance modules include managing sports surfaces, business management and plant and soil science.

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