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Family Firm Creates Bespoke Horticultural Training Course

York Agricultural and Horticultural College, Askham Bryan, and Yorkshire plant nursery, Johnsons of Whixley, have collaborated to create a new bespoke 12-week horticultural training course.

Johnsons, a family business and one of the UK’s leading plant nurseries, is located just 12 miles from Askham Bryan College and first contacted the organisation in early spring ’23 regarding a training partnership to ensure its employees stay at the forefront of horticultural knowledge through specialised training.

The two organisations have been working together since the 1970s with Johnsons providing work placements and the college providing horticultural courses for its staff. Johnsons chairman, John Richardson was also a governor at Askham for twenty years.

The course, ‘An Introduction to Horticulture’, will offer employees from Johnsons the chance to broaden their knowledge in various aspects of horticulture, from plant identification to planting locations and the impacts of plant choices, with a mixture of practical and theoretical tests.

The weekly sessions will be held from July – September at the college, which recently celebrated 75 years of providing specialist education. The course will be repeated for future cohorts of Johnsons employees.

Attendees put their own names forward to attend the inaugural course and were selected by their line managers. Course attendees include Adam Davis, Matt Campey, Gary Hardwicke, Ashley Robinson, Tomasz Kedra, Gergo Kontos, Chris Edgar, Chris Pearce, Matthew Goodwin, Elliot Green, Katie Burlingham, Dmytro Orlov, Filippo Pellizon and Louise Roberts.

Askham Bryan Curriculum area manager, Steve Bassford, said: “The college is looking forward to having the opportunity to deliver the bespoke course and building on already formed relationships."

"Having a positive impact on a local business such as Johnsons of Whixley enables a commercial education partnership which will be mutually beneficial to all.”

Johnsons of Whixley marketing and office manager, Eleanor Richardson, said: “It’s important to invest in our employee’s futures, to broaden and enhance their existing knowledge. This comprehensive learning experience will equip them with essential skills in the field of horticulture and is a good opportunity to get different departments working together in collaboration with our local college again."


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