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Cross House front garden © Supplied

Vacancy: Would-be Gardeners Sought

This is a contributed paid training position on behalf of The Women’s Farm & Garden Association (WFGA)

Are you thinking about a change of career or would you like to return to work and be outdoors caring for flowers, shrubs, trees, vegetables or fruit? How about a year’s part- time training in a beautiful garden? Do you enjoy gardening but feel you don’t know enough about it? How about a year’s part-time training with an experienced gardener?

A local garden, Cross House, is offering a placement for you to learn practical horticultural skills under the “Work and Retrain As a Gardener Scheme” (or WRAGS)

This training is offered by the horticultural charity “The Women’s Farm & Garden Association” (WFGA). The charity was established in 1899 to give women the education and employment opportunities to work on the land. A founder member launched what became The Women’s Land Army in. However, this outgrew the small organization and the government took it over. Since then the charity has continued to champion gardening as a valued career. It launched WRAGS in 1999.

WRAGS is a unique part-time scheme which now gives both men and women the opportunity to work under supervision for 2 days a week for a year in a carefully sourced garden. Trainees are monitored and assessed by their Regional Manager through monthly reports and two visits over the year and at the end of the training they get a recognized Certificate. Fees for the Scheme are currently £600 (paid in a lump sum or three installments), and the trainee is paid either the National Minimum Wage or the new National Living Wage, depending on age, to cover travel and other costs.

It’s a ‘win win’ situation, as garden owners benefit from the help they receive from enthusiastic and committed trainees, who in turn gain practical experience to go on to various careers in horticulture. Gardens in Stirlingshire, Peeblesshire, Edinburgh, Fife and Aberdeenshire have been helping WRAGS trainees to make a start in horticulture.

One trainee, who finished her placement near Aberfoyle last year, said of her experience:

My WRAGS training placement has been an immensely rewarding experience. The opportunity to gain knowledge and learn essential gardening skills in a hands-on and practical way has been an invaluable start to my career in horticulture.

The Scheme is just one of many options offered by the WFGA. Members can also benefit from useful networking events & forums, workshops and workdays, informative newsletters, garden tours, future funding for further training and discounts on some gardening accessories and clothing. WFGA is always looking for gardens that would like to offer a placement.

If you think you would benefit from a placement in a nearby garden, or if you are a garden owner and would like to offer a placement, you can get more information about WFGA membership & WRAGS at or, email , call the WFGA on 01285 658 339 or the Scotland WFGA Regional Manager, Annie Stewart, on 01667 453136

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