RHS leads call for teaching plan

Society sets sights on curriculum inclusion after survey finds lack of horticulture career promotion.

Horticulture needs to engage with schools and careers advisers to promote careers - image: Lantra
Horticulture needs to engage with schools and careers advisers to promote careers - image: Lantra

The RHS has called for the development of a horticultural teaching framework and the inclusion of the subject in the school curriculum after a survey showed that 70 per cent of all adults had not had the industry "highlighted as an opportunity" by teachers or careers advisers.

The society, which staged a careers conference in London this week, also revealed that 40 per cent of people cite not having enough knowledge as a reason for not being interested in horticulture.

Other findings were:

- Just over one in four (27 per cent) who did not have horticulture highlighted as a career opportunity who wished it had been flagged.

- 68 per cent thought horticulture was a career to be proud of, but 70 per cent of 18-year-olds disagreed.

- 70 per cent considered gardening to be a "skilled career", although 50 per cent of under-25s disagreed.

RHS director-general Sue Biggs said she found it staggering that, at a time of high youth unemployment, the Government was not doing more to promote careers in the horticultural sector, which, she said, had more skilled vacancies that it can fill in the UK.

Hillview Garden Centres chief executive Boyd Douglas Davis, who was due to address the conference, said garden centres employed a lot of young people part-time and needed to ensure that they show them the interesting side of the industry.

"Young people can get experience of plants, people, catering, finance or as a chef - the possibilities are endless," he added. Garden centres should also engage with schools by attending careers days or inviting careers officers to "see what we can do".

TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh, who was due to open the conference, said that by studying horticulture, young people "could end up organising creative events or working on drought solutions".

Key Stat

Percentage of people who did not have horticulture highlighted as a career opportunity who wished that it had been flagged - 27%.


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