Q. What will I get for my WFGA membership?
As a member of the WFGA you enjoy a full programme of specialist workshops and workdays through out the year, along with visits and tours to gardens and events. A newsletter packed with information and articles is sent to each member four times a year. Membership enables you to apply for the training opportunity Work and Retrain As a Gardener Scheme (WRAGS). A members page and Forum on our website enables you to network with a membership that covers all aspects of working on the land. Membership permits access to jobs advertised on the Forum on the Garden Recruitment Network - GRN. You will have access to a Discount Seed Scheme and Tools scheme. After a years membership you are eligible to apply for the Christine Ladley Fund.
Membership is open to all that have an interest in farming and gardening. The name Women’s Farm & Garden Association comes from the past when women were excluded from training and employment opportunities - but we've been around for over a hundred years and don't want to lose our name.
WFGA members receive priority for bookings on our programme of activities, but non members are welcome to attend at the increased price shown.
We limit the size of the group attending specialist workshops and places are eagerly sought by members. There are opportunities for friends and family members to join tours and visits.
Q. What is the difference between Workshops and Workdays?
A Workshop is designed to teach specialist skills to a group, many are hands-on giving a combination of tuition and experience, held on weekend days and open to all members.
Q. What is WRAGS?
WRAGS is a scheme run by the WFGA. The Work and Retrain As a Gardener Scheme offers an opportunity to train part time in practical gardening skills in a working garden, within their home location, as part of a gardening team or with an experienced Garden Owner. The training covers 15 hours per week over 12 months and a small training allowance is paid to the trainee to cover basic costs.
Q. Do I have to be a member to qualify for registration as a WRAGS trainee?
The WRAG scheme is only open to members of the WFGA - membership must be retained throughout the placement year.
When completing an application form for membership an applicant can register for the WRAG Scheme on the same form, either as a Trainee or Owner. If you decide after joining WFGA that you would like to do WRAGS then please contact the office.
To cover all four seasons and complete the practical gardening skills trainees train for 15 hours per week over 12 months. Trainees are urged to consider taking shorter holidays to ensure continuity of training.
Q. How far will I have to travel to a placement garden?
Your local Co-Ordinator will endeavour to place you in a garden as local to you as possible but in some areas this could be quite a distance away.
Short holidays (normally maximum 2 weeks) can be taken during the summer break but not for the whole school holidays. The same applies in winter. As the training is only 15 hours a week, long weekends etc can be fitted in without impact.
Q. What happens after I sign up for WRAGS?
Your details are passed to the Co-Ordinator for your area. You will receive a phone call to discuss the scheme, how it works, what is available in your area etc. When a placement comes available you will receive an interview at the garden. If all parties are happy you have a two week probation period to make sure the scheme is right for you. The registration fee becomes payable after the probation period.
All training establishments charge for their services. This Scheme does not qualify for government funding as it is designed for mature students learning practical skills. The fees charged cover the costs of sourcing gardens, setting up placements and monitoring the training year with garden visits by locally based WRAGS Co-Ordinators, and office support from the staff in Cirencester.
Our training scheme offers the opportunity to all who want to gain the confidence to consider a career in horticulture, however you do need to have some existing gardening knowledge e.g. acquired from your own/family garden or allotment, otherwise it will be difficult to make the most of your placement.
Q. Will I get a placement straight away?
There are a limited number of placements available. Sometimes you can be offered an interview at a garden almost immediately after registering - sometimes it can be some months and occasionally longer.
Yes, you will be expected to work outside in all weathers wearing the appropriate footwear & wet weather clothing & other protective equipment as required. It is an important part of the training to learn to plan gardening tasks to take account of the weather conditions for each season”.
Q. If something crops up at home, can I miss my training for that day or week?
The placement should be treated in the same way as paid work & trainees are expected to be reliable & consistent. Clearly a genuine emergency is different.
Q. Are there any other things I need to consider before I apply to become a trainee?
When making the decision to train you need to consider your work commitments, health, travel costs and timings and childcare arrangements prior to application. Many trainees have transferable skills from their previous roles: you should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, willing to try new challenges and have time management and problem solving abilities and a desire for personal development.
Q. What happens at the end of training?
The Women’s Farm and Garden Association award each trainee with a certificate on completion of a twelve month placement with the name of the garden where the training took place. A WRAGS seminar is held annually to explore the employment opportunities in horticulture and a workshop ‘Starting Up a Business’ is held to advise trainees on self-employment.
The placement of a trainee is for 15 hours per week over one year. The decision to offer a placement is made by the Garden Owner and arrangements are established at the time of interview. Many Garden Owners relate the advantages of having a trainee who is enthusiastic, committed and eager to learn. Prior to the completion of a placement arrangements are started by the Co-Ordinator for a follow on trainee.