Halting a horticultural crisis

children and horticultureToday, the horticultural sector released an update to the Horticulture Matters report it launched in 2013, which outlined the steps the industry and Government should take to address the growing skills crisis in the sector.

The update, Horticulture Matters 2014, highlights the achievements of the past year and outlines the areas of focus for 2015. Key priorities include improving the perception of careers in the sector, supporting schools in the delivery of horticultural qualifications and working with Government to secure funding for plant-science research.

Speaking at the YoungHort conference in London, which was attended by 300 young horticulturists, RHS Director General Sue Biggs said: “As a sector we want to share our passion for what I consider to be one of the most rewarding, important and life-affirming professions in the world, horticulture. And it is this love of horticulture and an understanding of the economic, scientific, cultural and social benefits it brings that brought the sector together a year ago to launch the Horticulture Matters campaign in order to highlight and address the growing crisis we face.

“Horticulture contributes £9 billion to the UK economy every year, and employs around 300,000 people across a variety of disciplines. However, 70% of businesses say that they struggle to find the skilled workers they require and 83% put this down to the poor perception of horticulture in schools and colleges.

“Over the past year, the horticulture sector has worked hard with Government, employers and educators to reverse a potentially terminal trend. We’ve made some significant advances, which are highlighted in our report, but we can’t rest on our laurels; there is much vital work that needs to be done.”

Delegates at the YoungHort conference received an early first view of a film developed by the industry-backed Grow initiative to inspire potential young horticulturists in schools. The film will be shared on social media sites and at high-profile shows including the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015.

Pledges and promises

The report highlights the achievements and aims including:

  • Recruiting industry ambassadors
  • Delivering horticultural 'test drives' to schools and colleges
  • Promoting the GrowCareers website
  • Delivering GrowCareers days
  • Supporting horticulture and guidance for schools
  • Facilitating businesses to work with schools
  • Promoting apprenticeship opportunities
  • Encouraging more take-up of horticultural courses
  • Delivering a public information campaign regarding plant health
  • Notifying Government of emerging threats

RHS Campaign for School GardeningCampaign for School Gardening

The RHS is committed to sharing our love of horticulture with young people - through our Campaign for School Gardening, we have reached thousands of children in UK primary schools. Read more about the campaign and join in to receive support to develop a sustainable garden for young people’s learning, health and wellbeing.

RHS Plant Health Studentship 2017Plant Health Summer Studentships 2017

  • Are you an undergraduate student in your second year of study?
  • Would you like to join an active programme of plant science research at one of the world’s great gardens?

Read more about Plant Health Summer Studentships 2017 at RHS Wisley (pdf 680kB)

Apply now

  • We will work with you to apply for funding from a number of external sources.
  • Placement opportunities will be subject to funding availability.
  • Deadline for applications is 28 Feb 2017

More information

Contact the RHS Plant Health team for more information:

Advertise here

Courses & workshops

Find a course

Learn a new skill or brush up on old ones with a workshop or short course with the RHS.

Find a course