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Young people on the path to a bright career as garden experts

Wheatley Group and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh team up to provide youngsters with Horticulture training.

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Young people from some of Edinburgh’s poorest communities are learning how to be plant and landscaping experts – thanks to a new partnership between Wheatley Group and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh (RGBE).

The trainees, who both live in Dunedin Canmore communities, will spend a year training on the job in the Botanic Garden and studying for a Certificate in Practical Horticulture (CPH).  They will then join the housing association’s environmental teams in the second year, using their new skills to keep communities in Edinburgh clean and green.

The new partnership was set up by Dunedin Canmore’s parent organisation, Wheatley Group. The training is being funded by the Wheatley Foundation, a charitable trust which invests over £3 million annually on improving the life opportunities of people in Wheatley communities.

The RGBE has provided professional horticulture training for over 100 years, and the course gives trainees a solid grounding in horticultural techniques, including soil care, pruning and seed propagation.

Green-fingered trainees Jordan Creelie, 20, a Dunedin Canmore tenant from Gorgie in Edinburgh, and Graeme Reid, 19, from South West Edinburgh, have both landed places.

Jordan said:

“My mum used to bring me here as a kid, and now I work here. I just feel so lucky. 

“I’d tried to get into the training programme for the gardens before but I wasn’t successful.  Now I’m on it, I couldn’t be happier.”

Hazel Young, Dunedin Canmore Managing Director, said:

“We’re delighted to be working with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on this new opportunity.

“These traineeships are a real boost for youngsters who want to begin a career in horticulture. We’re pleased to be helping young people across Edinburgh forge a brighter future for themselves.

“Having staff with expert training in how best to care for plants and soil will help us keep our neighbourhoods looking smart for years to come.”

Director of Horticulture for the RBGE, Kevin F H Reid NDF MBA, said:

“It is an important part of our outreach to be working in partnership with Dunedin Canmore and Wheatley Group. By sharing the expertise of our horticultural team, we can engage the next generation to develop skills for the care of plants and working to enhance the environment for the benefit of the community.

“It is pleasing to see the positive way in which the scheme has fostered new skills and personal development for Jordan and Graeme as they work through the CPH programme. We are confident the completion of their programme will provide the stepping stone to a lifetime career in horticulture.

“We greatly value the opportunity to partner with Dunedin Canmore as part of Wheatley Group, and hope that future collaborative opportunities will grow for skills training and community engagement both in Edinburgh and across their portfolio in Scotland.”

Pictured: Jordan Creelie in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh