Sowing the seeds for a new career

A GARDEN centre near Morpeth will help people to plant the seeds of a career in horticulture.

An apprenticeship programme has been launched by Heighley Gate Nursery & Garden Centre and it will provide successful students with a useful qualification.

The 12-month programme also includes an apprenticeship wage, which is dependent on age. A ‘celebration bonus’ of £500 will be paid to those who complete the scheme.

Heighley Gate General Manager Roger Wale said: “The scheme is the first of its kind for the horticultural industry and is a great opportunity for people to gain employment, particularly during the current economic climate.

“The apprenticeship will combine a blended learning approach with full integration into the garden centre. Knowledge-based learning will be accessed online, while college-based classes, which will take place at selected horticultural colleges, will develop the apprentices’ practical skills.

“These will then be put into practice in the workplace.”

The garden centre is looking for individuals aged 16 and above who have an interest in horticulture and have the following core values: courtesy and dedication to customer service, leadership, commercial thinking, team spirit, the ability to work with others, commitment and flexibility.

All those who successfully complete the programme will receive a work-based diploma in ‘Horticulture – Nursery Production.’

After 12 months, higher level apprenticeships linked to the management development strategy of the centre will be available to successful candidates, subject to application.

To register for the scheme, visit or email for an application form.

The closing date for registrations is Monday.