Higher education establishments have hit back at Conservative Party claims that they teach “Mickey Mouse” courses.
The Tories accused garden centre studies and greenkeeping courses of being “soft options” that cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
Vice-chancellor professor Gillian Slater of Bournemouth University, which teaches a greenkeeping course, said: “We focus on ‘real world’ programmes that provide added experience through professional placements. The sheer snobbery of those who continue to bang on about the irrelevance of vocationally focused university courses is beyond belief. Why not mention or criticise a more traditional university like Birmingham, which runs a very similar course to the sports management (golf) programme that we run in Bournemouth?”
The Groundsman editor Mike Beardall said: “It is a good idea to offer vocational courses, providing properly qualified staff who hold relevant qualifications.”
Garden centre worker Jim Mudd from Evesham Garden Centre, who has completed an Advanced National Certificate in Horticulture at Pershore College, said it was course content that matters. “If a degree is a ‘Mickey Mouse’ course then they are doing it wrong.”
A representative of Writtle College, in Essex, which runs a garden centre studies course, said: “There is huge demand from garden centres for graduate managers, so we cater for that demand.”
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