MP’s warning over horticultural skills


Britain’s horticultural industry is in crisis because not enough home grown talent is being recruited to be trained in the wide range of skills required – and the main reason, according to Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell, is that successive governments and the education establishment have not seen horticulture as something to encourage young people to pursue as a career.

In a wide ranging speech in the House of Commons, Sir Bob called for apprenticeships to be encouraged. He pointed out that the land based and environmental industries sector skills council had stated that another 595,000 more people will be required by the end of this decade.

He observed: “A strong horticulture sector provides employment and job creation. But there is a serious shortage which needs to be addressed through promoting skilled apprenticeships.”

Sir Bob localised his speech with references to the Castle Park, Beth Chato’s Gardens at Elmstead, the Colchester Rose Show, Cant’s who are the town’s last rose growers, and “The Hope on the Horizon” garden at the Army recovery centre.


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