Professional Gardeners Trust: Support for garden training and qualifications
Whilst a WRAGS traineeship gives a really good grounding in practical horticulture skills, it may well be that you are considering gaining some extra qualifications to beef up your CV as you get towards the end of your placement. Those courses and qualifications cost money, so when you might already be feeling squeezed by opting for what can still be a fairly low rate of pay, it is good to know that help is at hand.
As well as our own Christine Ladley and Spinks fund that can help with such expenses, the Professional Gardeners Trust has been supporting working gardeners for almost twenty years now. The website shows the type of applications they support (https://pgtrust.org/ ) with reports from previous successful award winners. Our own WFGA member Suzie de Bousies is one of them, and here is part of her report:
I heard of the Professional Gardeners Trust from a garden apprentice who worked in a local historic garden where I volunteered. At the time I was embarking on a new career after time away from work to raise my 2 young children. I was doing small gardening jobs in my village but realised I needed a formal horticultural qualification to develop my career further. The cost of enrolling on an RHS course was, however, out of my reach. Soon after applying to the PGT, I received confirmation that I had been given a Lironi Award of £400, funded by the charity Perennial, to study the RHS level 2 certificate in the Principles of Horticulture. The course was to start in 2017 and complete in 2019. In 2018 I received a further Lironi award of £220 to cover the cost of the external exam fees. As well as the financial award, I was also given valuable advice about which training providers past recipients had found particularly good. I originally thought I’d follow the course with a local college but after speaking with Helen Seal at the PGT, I decided to change my training provider to Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, and follow the RHS level 2 Principles of Horticulture course via distance learning. Obtaining an RHS qualification has enabled me to develop my gardening work into a fulfilling and financially viable career. I’m very grateful to the Professional Gardeners Trust and Perennial for giving me a Lironi Award and also for the advice they gave to ensure my training was the best it could be.
So whether it is a spray certificate, an RHS Level 2, 3 or the M.Hort you are aspiring to, or an online garden design diploma, do have a look at the PGT and see if they might offer you a helping hand.