‘To be the best we can be’ is the motto of the new staff training academy launched by Palmstead Nurseries Ltd, in Wye, Kent, this week.
“Staff training will help to create a wider understanding of what we do as a business,” Mark Hutchinson, the managing director, says. “Our motto applies to each person, each team, the company and Palmstead Nurseries within the horticultural industry.”
Taking place at the company’s new training facilities, Palmstead Nurseries have designed two training streams; ‘Hands on Horticulture’ — led by marketing manager Nick Coslett, with help from other members of the nursery and external trainers — and a second stream developing leadership skills for supervisory staff.
Once a month the ‘Hands on Horticulture’ group meet for lectures — in which they are encouraged to actively participate with their knowledge and experience — on national plant specifications; growing media; propagation; biosecurity; the science behind Palmstead Nurseries plant trials; pests and diseases and their control; in-depth assessment of the crop, from its value to who buys the plants; and the issues that customers face, beginning with plant handling through to plant establishment.
The academic training covering leadership skills, will comprise of 10 full-day modules focusing on staff developing themselves, their teams and how they can be more effective now and in future as the company evolves. Training will also include presentation skills; managing for performance; problem solving; employment law; communication; and building high-performance teams.
The company previously provided training on an ad hoc basis but decided on structured tuition because: “the staff are our greatest asset, and training and improving people’s skills is rewarding for everyone, including the business,” Mr Hutchinson says.
“We want to create wider awareness of what we are doing and give all staff a broad understanding of the business; to innovate, be the best that we can be, and provide the best level of service and products that we can.”
The staff were also pleased to know that they’d be getting homework — projects in which they work together on a topic and improve their knowledge and experience in the process.