National Trust Launches New ‘Heritage Horticulture’ Training Scheme

The National Trust  have recently announced a fantastic new project called the ‘Heritage Gardening Programme, which it said will offer comprehensive training for all of the charity’s gardening roles.

This formal training structure is said to have been designed to provide development opportunities in the organisation, which will be delivered via practical courses – both practical and online.

Another key part of the programme is the launch of Heritage Skills Passports, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.    

These passports will provide volunteers and gardeners with the opportunity to acquire a wide range of horticultural skills by tracking the user’s development and linking to available training courses.  

When asked about the new initiative, Mike Calnan, Head of Gardens at the National Trust said; ‘‘The trust’s Heritage Gardening Programme is a response to the sector’s skills shortage, particularly in heritage gardening.’’

‘‘It offers more entry points into the sector, more opportunities for staff to share their knowledge with colleagues and for the trust to develop the skills we need in order to look after the 240 heritage gardens in our care.’’

The project is actually in the second stage of its revamp, having first developed a partnership with the Historic and Botanic Garden Trainee programme    – funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (ran by English Heritage).

So far this had led to the creation of full time placements with salary for trainee gardeners up and down the country. These placements are situated in;

Anglesey Abbey – Cambridgeshire

Biddulph Grange – Staffordshire

Bodnant – North Wales

Calke Abbey – Derbyshire

Cliveden – Buckinghamshire

Clumber Park – Nottinghamshire

Dunham Massey – Cheshire

Dyffryn – South Wales

Erdding – North Wales  

Sissinghurst – West Sussex

Lytes Cary – Wiltshire

Mount Stewart and Rowallane Garden – Northern Ireland

and Wallington – Northumberland.

One such person is Elizabeth Maynard, who is beginning her gardening career/placement at Sissinghurst soon.

Elizabeth first spent two years on the Historic and Botanic Garden Trainee Programme at the garden, which was given additional financial support by the National Gardens Scheme.

‘‘Working alongside such talented and knowledgeable gardeners and having the opportunity to work across a range of projects was fantastic’’ she said.

‘‘It’s been brilliant learning all the tricks of the trade. I’m over the moon.’’

If you’d like to join Elizabeth and get your hands dirty while learning, then you can apply to the scheme too.

Check out the website for more information.