The UK body for garden businesses has warned of risks to the availability of supplies for home and professional gardeners in Scotland, due to a worsening shortage of staff in the environmental horticulture sector.
The warning comes from the Horticultural Trades Association ahead of a major careers event in Edinburgh on Wednesday.
James Barnes, chairman of the HTA says: “It takes skill to grow, nurture and manage the wide range of plants and other products that millions of gardeners and landscapers rely on in Scotland and beyond. As we look forward to meeting the next generation of horticulturists in Edinburgh this week, it is against the backdrop of a skills shortage that was first identified in 2019 – and which has only been exacerbated by Brexit and the pandemic, with a large proportion of the sector’s labour historically having come from the European Union. Many of our members have indicated that they are already feeling the effects of the shortage.
“Our sector has huge potential to contribute to UK growth through green jobs. If we are to reach that potential, industry and government must work collaboratively to find solutions to these challenges.”
Horticulture and landscaping contributed £1.4bn towards GDP and employed 42,000 people in Scotland in 2019. There are around 1.1 million regular gardeners in Scotland.
The Chartered Institute of Horticulture’s annual Grow Careers Scotland event will see those interested in either starting a career, or further developing their career in horticulture, gather to hear from leading horticulturists about the opportunities available in the sector.