About the Scheme
The WRAG Scheme (Work and Retrain As a Gardener Scheme) was launched in 1993 to provide paid, part-time, practical horticultural training. The trainee works for 12-14 hours a week for the whole year, in a carefully sourced garden, under the instruction of the garden owner or head gardener.
Graduates of the Scheme enter a wide range of horticultural careers including, running their own gardening business, plant nursery work, head gardener roles and working for the WFGA as Regional Managers. Please read the testimonials for further information.
Potential Trainees need to be aware that there are a limited number of placements available, as these are connected to the availability of training gardens. Please note that joining WFGA does not necessarily guarantee you a WRAGS training place.
Placements are subject to interview and waiting times vary throughout the country. In certain regions and larger cities – especially London, Surrey and Bath/Bristol – there are obviously fewer gardens in supply and more people wanting to do the training. In which case, you will need to be prepared to wait a long time or be prepared to travel out into the country. Whilst you wait – you can take full advantage of being a WFGA member and attend the Workshops and Skills Days.
The WFGA operates the Scheme through a network of Regional Managers located across the country. They use their local knowledge to source garden placements. They will monitor and visit the trainee during their training year. The trainee is required to complete a monthly report covering their horticultural tasks in the garden, which meet the skills outlined by WFGA. This is reviewed by their Regional Manager. On completion of 12 satisfactory reports a certificate is awarded.
The trainee is paid the National Living Wage per hour by the garden owner with the trainee being responsible for their transport, taxation and National Insurance contributions.
As the WRAG Scheme covers practical training, and doesn’t fit within standard horticultural apprentice schemes, it has proven impossible to obtain any grants or funding for it from Government or Educational sources – such funding is only given to courses with some academic content. The Association must therefore charge an administration fee to help with the costs of the Scheme. Administration fees are, at present, £600 for trainees paid on confirmation of a placement post being offered.
Many members obtain horticultural theory training by taking the examinations of the Royal Horticultural Society and the City & Guilds. Some members gain further professional experience with other organisations such as the Professional Gardeners’ Guild.