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RHS launches scheme to help unemployed

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RHS and The Prince’s Trust team Up

25 February 2013

Students on North Yorks scheme

The RHS has joined forces with the Prince’s Trust for a pilot scheme that aims to help unemployed young adults find work in horticulture – the scheme, which started in Yorkshire, is set to roll out nationally.

For the first time, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), The Prince’s Trust and Yorkshire-based agricultural college Askham Bryan College, have joined forces to help unemployed 16–25 year-olds in North Yorkshire find work.

The RHS is hosting the training programme, Get into Horticulture, at The Bramall Learning Centre at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, which is funded by Platinum Patrons of The Trust, Liz and Terry Bramall. Askham Bryan College, which is the fastest-growing land-based college in the country, is delivering the programme.

Students, who are recruited by The Prince’s Trust, are taking part in a three-week programme of workshops and activities designed to increase skills, confidence and knowledge as well as to help them find employment within the horticultural industry after the training has finished.

A 12-strong first group of students have already started their training. During week one, they took part in team-building exercises and developed enterprise skills by planting up alpine troughs which they will sell at the Harlow Carr Shop and Plant Centre. In the final week the group will go job searching, brushing-up their CVs and sitting mock interviews.

The team have been on work experience and three of the trainees will be offered volunteer opportunities at the Harlow Carr Shop and Plant Centre at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, with the view to continuing to develop key employability skills and possibly securing permanent, paid employment. Other members of the group have been on placement with Harrogate Borough Council and are being interviewed for seasonal jobs.

Ruth Evans, RHS Director of Education, Funding and Communities, said: “We’re so pleased to be playing a part in this fantastic new programme working for the first time with two brilliant partners to help out-of-work young people find employment. We’re only two weeks in, and we’ve had a really positive response so far. All trainees are picking up key skills and building the sort of confidence that will allow them to flourish in their new positions. We want to run similar initiatives at all four RHS Gardens in order to help change the lives of many more people who are unemployed.”

Lucy Hornsby, of The Prince’s Trust, said: “There are currently nearly one in four young people (24 per cent) who are unemployed in the Yorkshire and The Humber region. Our vital partnerships with organisation such as the RHS and Askham Bryan College ensure that we are able to run much-needed programmes like ‘Get into Horticulture’ to give young people the skills and confidence they need to move closer to a job. Horticulture is a thriving industry and one that can provide young people with a successful and fulfilling career.”

One young person, Shane Ashe from Ripon, who was unemployed before taking the course, said: “The ‘Get into Horticulture’ programme has been brilliant so far and I’ve learned so much. I have always been interested in gardening and plants but I didn’t think about it as a career. Being unemployed was very tough, so I’m glad I’ve been able to take this course, as I now have skills, more confidence and a great CV – so hopefully I can go on to get my first job in the industry.”
 

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