The Garden Academy was set up in 2013 between Homebase and multiple award-winning garden designer Adam Frost to help raise the profile of a career in gardening and inspire the gardening talent of the future.
The 12-month programme will offer 40 people aged 16 and above the chance to spend time learning from Adam about garden planning and design, work with key partners and suppliers to develop detailed product knowledge covering planting and landscaping, as well as learning practical horticultural skills to earn a Royal Horticultural Society Level 1 Award.
Liam Jackson, from Milton Keynes, who is on this year’s Garden Academy programme, said: “I have really loved being a part of the Garden Academy programme and I have learnt so much about all aspects of gardening.”
At other times, students will be working full-time at the Homebase store in Milton Keynes, putting what they’re learning into practice by helping customers make the most of their outside space.
Garden Academy mentor, Adam Frost explained the thinking behind the programme, saying: “It can be challenging for our industry to attract young people to gardening and show them that it can be an exciting career.
“Over the last two years the Garden Academy students have really impressed me with how much they’ve achieved – especially putting all of the skills they’ve learnt into practice by helping me build two Homebase show gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
“The Academy is a fantastic opportunity for people from different backgrounds and ages to come together to share their passion for gardening and the outdoors and develop it into a great career.”
Graham Heald, Retail Director for Homebase, added: “The Garden Academy has been a great success over the last two years and we’re delighted to be able to offer young people such a fantastic opportunity for the third year running.
“Being able to support and train the future talent of our industry is really important to us. A few of our previous academy students have gone on to work within our plant buying teams, and one of our first year students Kate Saville, is a finalist in this year’s RHS Young Garden Designer of the year competition, which is an amazing achievement.
“As well as learning and training with some of the best in the business, all students who complete the training scheme will be offered a permanent job at Homebase.”
To apply for a chance to be one of 40 places on the Garden Academy, visit www.homebasegardenacademy.com before Sunday June 21, 2015.
Successful applicants will be invited to assessment days in July.