Sue Ireland warns of crisis in recruitment and retention of women in horticulture

'There are very few women joining the industry,' says City of London Corporation director of open spaces Sue Ireland.

Ireland: wants to encourage more young women into the profession
Ireland: wants to encourage more young women into the profession

There is a crisis in the recruitment and retention of women in horticulture and arboriculture, City of London Corporation director of open spaces Sue Ireland has said.

Speaking at the corporation's recent "Inspiring Women" careers fair, Ireland said she wants to encourage young women into horticulture and give them the opportunity to manage people, more responsibility and bigger challenges.

Women often have to ask and fight for promotions and more professional responsibility whereas it is "more easily forthcoming for men in this industry", she added.

"There are some inspiring and exceptional women at the top of our sector, like Sue Biggs of the RHS, Linda Lennon at Royal Parks and HTA director-general Carol Paris to name just three. But currently there are very few women joining the industry and gaps at supervisory and management levels.

"We need to encourage girls to consider apprenticeships and management trainee roles as opportunities for careers in horticulture and arboriculture, especially if you care about both people and our environment."

Ireland said she advocates selling how "getting muddy" can be fun and she wants to open up workplaces for "exploring" by young people who "don't think of it as a career opportunity".

She added that some women are put off the industry because they think "you have to stand in front of a mower all day".

Inspiring Women

The Inspiring Women campaign, launched in 2013 by Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, aims to get 15,000 women to give an hour a year to go into a school or college near to where they live or work to talk with girls about their careers and experiences.


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