Work and Retrain as A Gardener (WRAGS) for Garden Owners

As a Garden Owner you have spent years creating a garden that you are proud of.  The knowledge required to craft that scene may have been garnered by you through experience, or you may employ a professional gardener, but either way you value the skills needed to create and maintain a beautiful garden.  WRAGS is about passing on that knowledge to the next generation of gardeners.  The scheme goes to the root of what the WFGA is about, providing career opportunities in horticulture in the most traditional of ways, the sharing of skills and knowledge through practical experience as well as maintaining the legacy of the British landscape.

WRAGS training is recognised and supported by the RHS, National Garden Scheme, Professional Gardeners Guild and many other horticultural organisations.

Our members are enthusiastic and passionate about working in horticulture but need the practical experience to make that a reality.  Most of the trainees bring work skills from their previous occupations and are accustomed to using initiative, and planning their workload.

The aim of the WRAG Scheme is to give trainees a year’s paid part-time experience in a suitable garden under the guidance of a head gardener or a knowledgeable owner, before launching out on their own.  The instruction required is in good practical gardening skills and is built around our WRAGS curriculum.  On completion of the year, our graduates receive a certificate, recognised within the horticultural industry.  This provides a strong platform for the individual to develop their horticultural career.  Previous WRAGS Graduates have gone on to become Head Gardeners, in some of the most prestigious British gardens, some taking on trainees themselves.  Others have specialised in propagation, training, specialist plant nurseries as well as becoming self employed gardeners.

Who benefits from the WRAG Scheme?

  • The Garden owner benefits from hardworking, keen new members on their team, who bring a desire to learn.
  • The horticultural profession benefits from WRAGS graduates with skills developed in quality gardens.
  • The trainee benefits from the instruction of skilled gardeners or knowledgeable Garden Owners.
  • WFGA as a charity, is able to achieve its aim of Advancing horticulture, and offering members practical skills days and workshops hosted in placement gardens.

How WRAGS works

The Scheme is administered by the WFGA through WRAGS Regional Managers (RMs), who arrange the placement between Garden Owner and Trainee within the Scheme framework. The RMs’ inspect each garden for both content and training capabilities before confirming acceptance.

Once accepted as a placement garden the RM will arrange interviews for suitable potential trainees if available.  The Garden Owner is responsible for paying the trainee the National Living Wage (Please see details below) for up to 14 hours per week for one year.

Agreements are drawn up by the WFGA and signed by all parties.

The RM usually visits twice during the year’s placement to monitor the trainee’s progress in the garden. The trainee submits monthly assessment forms to the RM for monitoring and guidance.