Blooming skills and blossoming futures


Bankside Open Space Trust recently celebrated the graduation of the latest trainees to go through our Future Gardeners scheme. Future Gardeners provides horticultural training to people, most from Southwark and surrounding boroughs, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access it. Many are long-term unemployed or have faced other serious challenges like mental health issues. The graduation marked the end of the fourth group of gardeners to complete the course and we were delighted to celebrate with our largest group yet.

We were particularly pleased because Future Gardeners not only brings life-changing opportunities to its trainees, it also serves to tackle an alarming shortage in the UK’s horticultural industry. The industry is worth £9 billion to the UK economy so getting people into this area of work is vital. Our students work towards a City and Guilds qualification, receive talks from people in the industry and help with job applications. Horticulture is a really varied sector –we aren’t just growing gardeners but also groundspeople, landscapers, nursery workers and parks and heritage garden keepers to name but a few roles. 

Many of the Future Gardeners have been out of work for some time and so we are proud that the scheme has enabled so many to find work or enter further education in the past year. A course participant said, “Very glad I had the opportunity to participate and complete it. It is a boost to my confidence and gave me purpose and reason, motivation to continue and improve.”

Sarah Mangan