Garden apprenticeship scheme to be launched

The government is set to announce a new funding package that will help cultivate the UKs next generation of gardening experts.

Housing minister Margaret Beckett will launch a £1 million scheme that will see local councils invite budding horticulturalists to apply for apprenticeships.

The trainees will learn their trade while improving the green spaces in Britains towns and cities.

Ms Beckett will introduce the funding during a speech to leading experts in the green sector at the ParkCity conference in London today (March 24th).

She will explain that the new apprentices will take responsibility for the countrys parks and open spaces, making sure they are of the highest quality.

"If we really are to tackle climate change and protect both our environment and our health, green spaces need to be at the heart of our communities," the minister will say.

It is hoped that the successful applicants will follow in the footsteps of celebrity gardener and TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh, who began his gardening career as an apprentice in 1964 at Ilkley Council parks department nursery.