The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is asking the horticulture sector to help inspire the next generation by agreeing to mentor school pupils for a one-off ten week schools challenge project beginning in September.
The call comes as the charity prepares to launch its Green Plan It challenge schools project that will see 12-14 year-olds take on the challenge of rethinking the role of green space and develop solutions to horticulture-related problems.
The horticulture industry mentors, who are a "crucial" part of the challenge, will work alongside the secondary school pupils to provide horticultural advice and guidance to help them achieve their project objectives. They will also provide careers insight and skills development opportunities for the pupils and important new industry connections for the school.
Mentors, who will be drawn from across the sector to mirror the diverse career opportunities within horticulture, would be required to:
- Work alongside a team of six pupils and their teacher over a ten week period starting in September
- Commit to 2.5 days over the ten weeks - half-a-day would be spent being trained to support the school teams; part of a day would be given over to attending the launch of the project and the final assessment of the challenge, then approximately an hour a week of support to the teams - which can be provided by email or Skype
More than 900 secondary school pupils have already signed up for the challenge, while organisations including Notcutts, the Landscape Institute and Birmingham City Council have thrown their weight behind the initiative.
Speaking about the project RHS Head of Regional Development Andrea Van Sittart said: "We’ve known for a while that the horticulture sector is facing a skills crisis and that young people are unaware of the diverse career opportunities that exist within the sector. That’s why projects like this are so important, because they bring pupils together with passionate professionals who have forged successful careers in horticulture.
"By giving a few hours of their time horticultural mentors can educate and inspire the next generation and make a real difference to both the lives of young people and the future of sector.
"We’re appealing to the sector to join us in this project and help us invest in the future of horticulture."See http://bit.ly/29F1oqS