D. Training

None of the policies in this Strategy Plan could be put into place without well-trained staff to cultivate and manage plant collections. Sound horticultural training is crucial to the long-term welfare and use of plant collections. Some gardens are in a position to train professional gardeners by on-the-job training, NVQ assessments or the provision of work experience and apprenticeships before, during or after a college course. There is a pressing need for such opportunities to sustain the base of horticultural skills in Britain and Ireland. However, while horticultural training is obviously the most important type of guidance necessary, horticulturists in public gardens also need other types of instruction. Examples include training in many aspects of health and safety, supervision, IT, budget management, fundraising and plant records, customer care, tourism and interpretation techniques. Some gardens also offer opportunities and courses for those seeking a career in botanical horticulture.

PlantNetwork aims to raise standards of horticultural and other appropriate training for those involved with plant collections.

PlantNetwork has:

  • held a conference on Supporting Botanic Gardens, staff, friends and volunteers at Ventnor Botanic Garden, in October, 2002
  • following the PlantNetwork conference at Writtle in September 2002, a steering group was established that commissioned a wide-ranging survey of horticulturists in order to better understand the sector and the skills required for future management and maintenance. This report has now been published, and provides the blueprint for action in supporting this sector
  • held 24 Forum group meetings (Tree Forum, Plant Records Group, Glasshouse Forum and Propagator’s Forum) and 10 Technical Training days.

To maintain these achievements, PlantNetwork will:

  • continue to remain involved with the heritage and botanic gardens steering group
  • encourage attendance by staff at workshops of the PlantNetwork Tree Forum, PlantNetwork Plant Records Group and PlantNetwork Glasshouse Forum and at PlantNetwork Technical Training Days
  • highlight training issues, funding sources and opportunities in the PlantNetwork Newsletter
  • encourage staff exchanges
  • investigate the feasibility of PlantNetwork running specific training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) recognised courses especially through the Bursaries Scheme.
  • encourage training by exchanging expertise within PlantNetwork member gardens, but also by seeking advice and skills from other bodies
  • promote opportunities for training in botanical horticulture and systematics offered by botanic gardens, universities and colleges.
  • promote the opportunities available to those seeking a career in botanical and heritage horticulture through relevant media and by working with organizations such as LANTRA
  • encourage those member gardens open to the public to display horticulture career information.

The following policies are also relevant in delivering the Training policy: