Gearing students towards a career in landscaping

GoLandscape is an initiative that seeks to encourage school leavers to consider a career in landscaping, challenge false perceptions and demonstrate the broad range of skills that are used within the industry. Stephen Ensell from the British Association of Landscape Industries, explains further

A career in the landscaping industry can be incredibly exciting and rewarding; just the fact that you are working outdoors could be incentive enough. Landscapers make huge differences to outdoor spaces, turning over-run or barren areas into places of beauty and function. Any landscaper will tell you no two days are the same, one day you may be constructing a pergola, the next a wall, another installing a planting scheme. With it being such a varied sector, incorporating different job roles, it appeals to lots of different people with differing skill sets.

Enjoy construction? Landscapers build exterior buildings, fences, walls, patios, bridges and move the land to create new and exciting spaces.

Love sports? Grounds maintenance staff are responsible for looking after the world’s best sports pitches - from football to rugby and golf.

Interested in plants? Landscapers of all levels gain a knowledge of plants and you can get involved in selecting plants, planting and maintenance.

Want to save the environment? Landscapers help create and conserve outside spaces, for wildlife, plants and to prevent erosion, creating and maintaining green spaces that provide a wealth of health benefits.

Feeling creative? Landscape Designers and Architects work alongside Building Architects to design exciting and functional outside spaces.

More than just gardening

Yet the profession is often limited and referred to as just gardening and therefore perceived as a low skilled occupation. This is just a small aspect of landscaping and often only the starting point. Landscapers are highly skilled individuals that are involved in many aspects of construction and maintenance working on private gardens, estates and parks. The industry is made up of labourers, team leaders, managers, executives, business developers, business owners, architects and designers, marketing and IT specialists to name but a few. All the sectors in the industry require creative, multi-skilled and talented individuals to carry out the designing of projects, sourcing and ordering of a broad range of materials, along with the craftsmen that construct and build the projects, the horticulturalists that select and plant out the chosen plant material and the teams that then go onto maintain these green spaces.

These men and women have been extensively trained in universities, colleges and through apprenticeships and take pride in what they do and create on a daily basis. The industry offers plenty of progression along with a wide range of opportunities for personal and professional development, with many going on to make it a lifelong career.

The landscape industry has roles that address many people’s capabilities from entry level qualifications right up to degree level, landscapers are individuals with a strong educated foundation which often includes english, chemistry, biology, mathematical and analytical skills, design technology, they are creative, able to solve problems and most importantly, passionate!

The job prospects for those coming into the industry are strong, with demand for skilled landscapers being very high, there are many companies looking to employ skilled labour to meet their current and future work load. BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) members are expecting a nearly 60% increase in work over the next 12 months and beyond, so it’s a great time for pupils to consider a career within the industry with solid future prospects.

There are several ways in which pupils can begin their journey into the industry on completion of school. They may choose to go into full time further education, with courses available from entry level to BSc, there is a huge choice when it comes to qualifications in landscaping and horticulture.

Apprenticeships are very much in the news at the moment, pupils can work with a company and also study a work-based qualification a day a week with a local College, meaning they are learning the trade while on the job. Most apprenticeships lasting 1 – 2 years, but there are also higher-level apprenticeships (Level 3), these are equivalent to A levels and can lead on to professional and managerial roles.

GoLandscape is here to not only promote the industry and inspire people to join it, but to also support them. We are able to offer advice and answer any questions you may have about entering this exciting industry. We are keen to work with teachers, careers advisers and parents in helping them understand what its like to work in the landscape industry, the benefits, the routes available along with opportunities for progression.

We have a network of trained industry GoLandscape ambassadors who are willing to attend secondary schools and showcase the diverse range of roles and opportunities within the industry.

Contact Stephen Ensell (Stephen.ensell@bali.org.uk), for further information visit www.golandscape.co.uk

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