National Trust for Scotland unveils new garden apprentice scheme

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The National Trust for Scotland has unveiled a garden apprentice scheme to help nurture the next generation of talent to care for its 38 gardens.

With a worrying shortage of people with the right blend of skills and experience to care for its gardens, the National Trust for Scotland decided be pilot its own apprenticeship scheme.

The programme, which will initially seek five apprentice gardeners, will be based on the modern apprenticeship in horticulture at SVQ Level 2 and will start in early September 2018. Trainees will be part of the charity’s gardening teams at Brodick, Crathes, Culzean, Greenbank, Hill of Tarvit and Kellie Castle for the next two years.

The group will come together regularly throughout the two-year programme for training at Oatridge College, West Lothian.

Ann Steele, head of heritage gardening at the National Trust for Scotland, said: ‘Skills shortage is an issue affecting the whole of the horticulture industry, but it’s particularly important for us to address because we love and care for so many of Scotland’s most significant and important heritage gardens.’

The National Trust for Scotland currently employs 70 gardeners and has a history of developing gardening talent through its School of Heritage Gardening at Threave, which has been operational for the past 50 years. However, demand is outstripping supply and extra measures are being put in place to safeguard the future of Scotland’s heritage gardens.

For more information about the gardening apprentice scheme visit