On 23 May 2014, RHS Chelsea Flower Show will play host to 100 budding horticulturists, and some secondary school students, to showcase gardens and horticultural displays and to promote the breadth of career opportunities in horticulture.
Horticultural students, apprentices, horticulturists beginning their careers and secondary school pupils will receive early access to the showground, before attending a careers event with speakers, including RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold medal-winning garden designer Adam Frost, who will talk about the diverse range of careers in the industry and career-progression opportunities.
The RHS is hosting the event as part of the Horticulture Matters campaign, which aims to raise the profile of careers in horticulture. The breakfast is being sponsored by M&G Investments.
RHS director general Sue Biggs said: "British horticulture is challenged by a skills gap and not enough young people are coming into the industry. We also know that as an industry we have to get better at promoting careers in horticulture. Last year more than 80 per cent of secondary school teachers said they hadn't received any information about careers within the industry.
"This is one of many initiatives both at the RHS and within the whole industry to get more people to know about the fantastic opportunities there are in horticulture. Where better to get people excited about and interested in this industry than the world's best and most celebrated flower show?"
Speakers at the event include: Raoul Curtis-Machin (Horticultural Trades Association), Saul Walker (RHS Chelsea Flower Show Manager), Chris Beardshaw ( designer and broadcaster), Jason Booth (Institute of Groundsmanship), Jack Shilley (YoungHort director) and Alistair Griffiths (RHS director of science).
Adam Frost said: "I'm increasingly worried that our next generation of young people are not connecting with what's outside their back door.
"This is not only a social issue, but increasingly a challenge for our industry as young people are not excited by careers in gardening.
"I've been really inspired by what this year's Homebase Garden Academy students have achieved - especially putting all of the skills they've learnt into practice by helping to build the Homebase Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
"The Academy is a great opportunity for people from different backgrounds to come together to share their passion for the outdoors and develop it into a career."
The RHS Chelsea Appeal 2014 at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show is raising funds to help the charity engage with more secondary schools. The charity is also raising funds to create more horticultural apprentice positions over the next five years at its four gardens: RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, RHS Garden Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire, RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex and RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon.