The Garden Centre Association (GCA) has just introduced another new module to its Garden Retail Online Workshops (GROW) e-Learning platform – this time on Sustainable Disease Control (August 2023).
With growing public environmental awareness, it’s designed to provide garden centre staff with the knowledge they need to help customers prevent and treat plant diseases in a more sustainable way.
Antony Snow, Instructional Designer for GROW, says: “Many gardeners choose to use synthetic controls to treat plant diseases because they are convenient, easy to use, and efficient.
“However, as more and more of us are becoming increasingly aware of our impact on the environment, customers are choosing to adopt a more natural and sustainable approach to disease control.
“This course has been written to provide our members’ employees with the knowledge to help their customers to minimise the chances of diseases taking a hold through the careful planning of where to plant and good plant husbandry.”
The GCA’s GROW modules cover a range of important topics to help employees gain knowledge and confidence in products and services, so they can successfully assist others, whether colleagues or customers.
GCA Chief Executive, Peter Burks, adds: “We’re delighted to be able to release this new course, which has been written to provide our members’ teams, and also those at Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) garden centres, with the knowledge to help their customers to prevent diseases using more natural and sustainable methods. Antony is also putting together an equally as important Sustainable Pest Control course, and this will be live as soon as possible, hopefully within the next few weeks.
“We are always working on developing GROW and increasing what we provide to cover all the topics our members might need. It’s available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, so people can log-in when convenient for them. It’s also a cost-effective way of delivering training and personal development that enhances customer experience and this is great for everyone.
“Many members have told us how effective it is in giving their staff confidence while providing essential education and training for them too.”
GROW started as an initial idea, devised during a strategy meeting of the GCA’s executive committee, to bring education and training tailored to individuals employed in the garden centre industry.
It’s a self-funding and non-profit facility with any surpluses being reinvested into its ongoing development and improvement. Currently there are 111 modules and more than 12,000 users throughout the UK.
These modules include a wide range of topics that cover horticulture, customer service, food safety, regulated sales and health and safety.
All the modules have been written by experts in their field and are designed to apply to a garden centre environment, with the content for the horticultural modules drawing on the vast experience of members within the GCA.
Peter adds: “If you’re not using GROW already, but would like to find out more, please contact Antony or I for further details. You can also find out about it on our website www.gca.org.uk/gca-grow-information, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The GROW e-Learning facility is available to GCA member garden centres, as well as to HTA garden centre members too. The new course is accessible immediately to existing subscribers.
The GCA represents more than 200 garden centres nationwide.
Through sharing information and its inspection programme, the GCA helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability.
For further information, please visit www.gca.org.uk.