Across the UK young people are joining ‘Green Teams’ run by an environmental charity to gain practical landscaping skills and experience to help create and maintain much needed green spaces in local communities.
For many of the young people, aged between 16 – 24, the horticultural training programme is another opportunity after leaving school with few formal qualifications.
Run across the UK by the environmental charity Groundwork, the scheme sees young people being mentored by a trained supervisor, who supports them to take their first steps into a horticultural career while improving their local area for everyone.
In Panshanger Park, Hertfordshire, eight new recruits will be building outdoor learning space for Panshanger Park Forest School – an initiative being launched by Lafarge Tarmac and Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust this February. The team will learn hard and soft landscaping skills, create a fire pit, construct two shelters and make a grand entrance to the outdoor classroom from natural materials.
The participants will work towards City & Guilds qualifications in Land-Based Studies and Employability Skills. They will also improve their maths and English through Functional Skills qualifications and will practice interview techniques to help them into employment in an industry keen to recruit more young people.
Groundwork Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury said:
“It’s great to see another group of young people getting practical experience that will help them to get into meaningful work. Bringing together activities that benefit the local community and the environment is central to the way Groundwork improves neighbourhoods. Green Teams are an excellent example of this approach to changing places and lives for the better. We’re delighted to be working with partners like Lafarge Tarmac and the Wildlife Trusts that help us to support even more young people in the future.”
Liam, who recently completed a placement on a Green Team in the West Midlands, is just one of 6,100 people Groundwork helped in to employment, training or education last year. He said:
“School wasn’t my thing. When I left I had nothing to do and I got in trouble. It felt like I was nothing in life.
“Groundwork saw something in me and helping people and the community made me feel good. I’m a changed person. I’ve got a job, a level 2 qualification and I’m working towards level 3. The future is looking bright.”