The RHS has created a new careers resource with more than 60 individual films showcasing some 45 different horticultural careers, as a survey shows that almost three in 10 (28%) people say not knowing enough about careers in the industry puts them off working in horticulture.
The top two things putting people off a career in horticulture, which is currently suffering a skills crisis, is lack of knowledge, both in not knowing enough about plants or gardens (40%) and not knowing enough about careers in horticulture (28%).
Almost one in four (24%) would also be more likely to consider a career in horticulture if they felt they were going to be helping the environment while 25% would be interested in doing so if it would give a huge boost to their mental wellbeing.
Sue Biggs, RHS director general says: “It’s well known within the industry that spending time outside close to nature and working with plants is great for personal wellbeing. We are delighted that more people are planning to take advantage of this benefit when considering their future career options whether straight from education or as a career changer. Working with plants in so many different ways can be really enriching both physically and mentally.
“I am immensely proud of our profession and the vast majority of roles, both inside and outside, are helping to do positive things for the environment, from finding out how plants can mitigate pollution and flooding issues to looking at supporting wildlife. There are so many rewarding roles and I hope people enjoy our careers information to find out more.”
The new RHS careers site has in excess of 60 videos covering individual horticultural careers from ethnobotanists to floral designers to plant collectors and gardeners. It has career changers and young people all of whom have different stories to tell, from a journey from ballet dancer and then uranium miner to becoming garden photographer to another career changer who was a world class soprano turned heritage gardener.
The careers in horticulture that most interested people were garden designer (17%), florist (16%) and landscaper (14%).
The top things that would help people decide if a career in horticulture was right for them were: readily accessible short courses and workshops near them (26%); more information about careers online (24%) and work experience opportunities (23%).
Sue adds: “The ornamental horticultural industry is worth £24.2bn to the UK economy each year and directly employs 370,300 people. The correct skills and knowledge are vital to sustain and grow this industry that has so much growth potential, however, there is currently a horticultural skills gap in the UK and the requirement for skills is expected to increase 23% in the next two years. If we as a country are to benefit from the improved environment, economy and health that would come from expanding our horticulture industry, we need to welcome far more people of all backgrounds into these fantastic green careers.”