Students learn from conference

An education conference held at Sparsholt College in Hampshire has "opened the eyes and minds" of horticultural students at the start of their career "to the possibilities that horticulture has to offer", said conference organiser Geoff Dixon.

Over 70 students of land-based courses at Sparsholt, Wiltshire College at Lackham, Bridgwater College and the University of Reading were brought together for a day of talks and workshops. The event, organised by the South West Professional Horticulture Group and the colleges, aimed to show the diversity available in the horticulture industry.

Career histories were given by speakers including an arborist, a garden designer, college principals and university researchers. Workshops offered students a chance to air their views on advice they had received and the changes that could be made to courses on offer.

Group vice-chairman Dixon said: "The aim was to provide careers and course advice, which students often don't get at school. Students said they enjoyed the day and appreciated being able to talk to their peers at other colleges."

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