HTA, with Pershore College seek to shape an Apprenticeship approach

A total horticultural contribution of ?9 billion to the UK economy each year and with 1.7% of all UK retail sales creating an additional estimated ?5 billion of value attributed to the UKs garden retail market (Horticulture Matters, 2013), it is clear to see the importance Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) members play in contributing to the economy and the horticultural industry as a whole.

Encouraging enthusiastic and talented school leavers to enter the industry through an apprenticeships route is a great way for the school leaver to learn, and provides both the apprentice and employer with a great opportunity to shape the future.

The HTA recognises this and has teamed up with Pershore College, as lead delivery partner, to define how the HTA can support its members in encouraging apprenticeship recruitment. The barriers faced by members include a traditional training delivery approach, poor standards of apprentices on offer and a lack of clarity of who is responsible for what and how to go about taking on an apprentice.

The HTA, with Pershore College, will be promoting apprenticeships and surveying its membership on the potential apprenticeship recruitment numbers, during the Autumn. The results of this, will define the service provided by the HTA and Pershore College, next year. The HTA have begun work to define an apprenticeship programme, setting the core standards of knowledge and skills required and considering how this can be delivered in a flexible way. Consultation with members will take place this Autumn to test out the recommended apprenticeship and delivery approach.

Penny Evans, HTA Training and Careers Manager, said ?more school leavers are open to considering apprenticeships as a way of getting into the jobs market, rather than choosing to go to University. This provides our members with a great opportunity to recruit highly talented people, but trawling through the vast amounts of information available, from many sources can often put off businesses from taking the decision. Working with an experienced horticultural apprenticeship provider such as Pershore College, will provide a great steer as to what information and service can be provided to our members and ensuring the standard of training is set and remains high?.

Helen Dickson, Pershore College, Employer Engagement Manager, said ?This is a fantastic opportunity for members of the HTA to understand more about apprenticeships and what is involved. Working with the HTA will allow us to educate Employers with the details of Apprenticeships and how they work. We plan to use partner colleges across the UK to help deliver Apprenticeship programmes, which will allow us to work collaboratively with all the HTA members. This will then provide job vacancies for young school leavers to be able to enter the industry and gain a nationally recognised qualification and the experience and skills needed to work in Horticulture.?

For more information about how the HTA is looking to support its members, please contact Penny Evans on 0118 9303132 or email penny.evans@the-hta.org.uk or visit our website at http://www.the-hta.org.uk/page.php?pageid=147

HTA

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