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The Royal Parks Apprenticeship Scheme, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year and won the 2008 Horticulture Week award for Most Outstanding Commitment to Training, is looking for learning providers.

The Royal Parks is inviting proposals from providers who can deliver a new style, flexible apprenticeship scheme, which gives apprentices up to five years to complete the programme at their own pace and tailors support to their needs.

How it works

Apprentices are employed by one of The Royal Parks' landscape maintenance contractor - currently Fountains, Veolia plc, Enterprise plc and Turfsoil Ltd - in one of the Royal Parks.

The apprentices will:
o Spend 4 days per week working and learning landscape and horticultural techniques.
o Spend 1 day per week in the classroom.
o Be trained on all aspects of plant maintenance, cultivation and landscape development.
o Learn about pest control through chemical, biological and cultural methods, operation and maintenance of a wide range of machinery, and soil science.

The Royal Parks, supported by The Royal Parks' Guild, is also working closely with other organisations such as the City of London Parks and Gardens and Roots and Shoots.

In previous years, taster sessions on landscape design, arboriculture and park management were offered by The Prince's Trust in partnership with The Royal Parks. This year, we are exploring the possibility of offering a longer taster experience.

Many of The Royal Parks' current apprentices have come through the taster experience and it is hoped that the more intensive introduction will capture the imagination of even more young people, inspiring them to apply to the apprenticeship scheme.

Any learning providers interested in tendering should express interest via procurement@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk. Potential apprentices should request information from The Royal Parks via the Grow@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk mailbox.

Ruth Holmes, The Royal Parks' Head of Landscape, said:

"At a time when the employment market is fiercely competitive, we hope that The Royal Parks' flexible apprenticeship scheme will encourage more young people into the horticulture industry.

"The high standard of learning provision has always been a hallmark of the scheme, with apprentices past and present commending the support they have received from their tutors and the landscape maintenance contractors."

Royal Parks Apprentice, Robert Kirkham, said:

"When I first applied to The Royal Parks Apprenticeship Scheme I was a bit daunted by how much there would be to learn. My tutors are really supportive though and the other apprentices are always willing to share their support and experience."


About The Royal Parks:
Almost 40 million Londoners and tourists visit the eight Royal Parks each year. The 5,000 acres of historic parkland provide unparalleled opportunities for enjoyment, exploration and healthy living in the heart of London. The Royal Parks played a key role in Great Britain's busy summer, hosting a number of Diamond Jubilee celebratory events as well as eleven London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic events.

The Royal Parks are: Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, Richmond Park and St James's Park. The Royal Parks also manages Victoria Tower Gardens, Brompton Cemetery, Grosvenor Square Gardens and the gardens of 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street.

For further information please visit: www.royalparks.org.uk.

For media enquiries contact: 0300 061 2128 or press@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk.

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