Rose society bemoans dearth of horticulture apprentices

Horticulture is lacking suitable apprentices, according to the Royal National Rose Society (RNRS), after it failed to recruit a trainee gardener to prepare for its annual opening on 7 June.

The St Albans garden offers £14,000 a year for four days a week and funds an expenses-paid day at Capel Manor College in a two-year apprenticeship scheme with the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. With plans to increase its 12,500 visitors during its two-month annual opening, plus a new wedding licence bringing in more interest, the RNRS needs more gardening staff to add to its one full-timer and one part-timer.

Chief executive Roz Hamilton said: "The RNRS has been desperately trying to find an apprentice gardener to work four days per week along with the RNRS funding a three-year course at Capel Manor. We have advertised through the apprenticeship scheme and failed to find a suitable candidate."

She added: "It's been impossible to find anyone suitable. We started looking last October and have had eight possible candidates but not one has been suitable. They're not prepared to work in manual labour, but isn't that what gardening is? I don't know what's wrong with the younger generation now. You have to love outdoor life to want to do this but a couple of the guys we tried out, as soon as it rained, they just went home."

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