RHS to invest in home grown horticultural talent

The RHS is to invest ?7.3million in home grown horticultural talent by 2025 to help support the future of British Horticulture.

A survey carried out in 2013 found that more than 70% of horticultural businesses cannot fill skilled vacancies, nearly 20% are forced to recruit overseas and almost 70% say career entrants are inadequately prepared for work.

As part of the industry-wide ?Horticulture Matters? campaign to raise the profile of careers in horticulture, RHS will invest ?3.2million to increase its horticultural apprentice and training positions from 46 to 76 by 2025.

The RHS also commits to invest a further ?4.1 million in horticultural salaries by 2025. The pay increases will be permanent, continuing beyond 2025, to better reflect the skills and knowledge of horticulturally trained employees.

RHS director general, Sue Biggs, said:? ?We?re in the fourth year of the industry?s Horticulture Matters campaign, to raise the profile of careers in horticulture and close the critical green skills gap, which threatens the future of British Horticulture.

?We have just completed a horticultural salary review to ensure we recognise the specialist skills and knowledge that professional horticulturists and horticultural scientists need to do their jobs, at the same time as making sure we?re building horticultural salaries in a sustainable way, both for ourselves and for the wider industry.

?The key issue that we, as an industry, need to resolve is that people still aren?t aware of the breadth of exciting and fulfilling career opportunities that the wonderful world of horticulture has to offer.

?We also need to continue getting better at going out into secondary schools and reaching wider audiences to raise the profile of careers in horticulture and to highlight career progression opportunities.?

Alan Titchmarsh, who has supported and helped drive Horticulture Matters from the start, said: ?While it?s not just the salary that attracts a person to a job, nor makes them stay, this acknowledgement of the importance of adequately rewarding horticultural skills demonstrates that the RHS is committed to playing its part in recognising the often underestimated value of horticulturists.

?I look forward to more initiatives coming from the RHS and the wider industry to continue the work of Horticulture Matters and raise the profile of careers that are currently undervalued for the skills they require and for the immense positive difference they make.?

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