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Events, news and insights

The latest GoLandscape news, details of related industry career events and helpful advice, guidance and tips to get the most out of landscaping.

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go-landscape-capel-manor.jpg 23/03/17

BALI's GoLandscape enthrals students at Capel Careers Fair

The Association's careers initiative exhibited at Capel Manor College Careers Fair, alongside 12 BALI Registered Members, to provide students studying landscaping and horticulture with advice and support in securing jobs in the industry following their course completion.
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BALI's GoLandscape enthrals students at Capel Careers Fair

The British Association of Landscape Industries' (BALI) GoLandscape initiative continues to be trialled across the South Thames region, with multiple events having taken place over the last few months, talking directly to students, college lecturers and educators on the importance of securing the right skills and qualifications to enter the landscaping industry.

The latest event this week saw Managing Director of award-winning Garden Design and Construction company The Outdoor Room, David Dodd, who are also Registered Members of BALI, work alongside Carly Button, BALI's Sales Officer, to exhibit at BALI Training Provider Member Capel Manor College for their annual Spring Careers Fair.

The event, which ran between 12pm-3pm, has grown considerably since 2016, with 69 employers present. There were multiple BALI Registered members exhibiting alongside the Association, including Gavin Jones, Joseph Rochfords Gardens, Alfie Bines Gardens, Andersplus, Belderbos Landscapes, Greenmantle, Ginkgo Landscape Contractors, Glendale, Ground Control, Marshalls, Palmstead Nurseries and Provender Nurseries. BALI's chosen charity Perennial was also in attendance.

The Careers Fair gave students studying nationally recognised qualifications a chance to speak to potential employers, providing them with valuable contacts that they may need when leaving the college upon completing their courses.

BALI Board Director and Managing Director of BALI Registered Contractor The Outdoor Room, David Dodd, said, “It is always encouraging to speak to so many students at events like this, who are passionate about working towards a career in horticulture and landscaping, who have the right qualifications and skill set, attitude and approach and show willingness to learn and develop. This is, after all, our future generation of landscape professionals and we have a duty to help them with professional guidance and support for that next step on their journey after leaving college. GoLandscape was set up to get more people into this fantastic industry, to establish rewarding careers and to help close the skills gap that is currently gripping the industry. There was most certainly an appetite to sign-up to the GoLandscape scheme from students at the event which was encouraging, but there is still a lot left to do to achieve our goals of preserving landscaping as we know it”.

GoLandscape continues to gain pace, securing Ambassadors, forging new industry partnerships and delivering careers, seminar and presentation events around London and the surrounding areas, before the trial reaches its conclusion at the end of April.

 

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british-sugar-topsoil.jpg 01/03/17

Training bursary launched by British Sugar TOPSOIL

The UK’s largest supplier of topsoil to the construction, landscaping and amenity sectors has announced the launch of The British Sugar TOPSOIL Training Bursary 2017 to celebrate the business’s 20th anniversary. Two bursaries, each of up to £500, will be awarded to pay for training courses in the greenkeeping, groundsmanship, landscape contracting or garden design sectors.
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Training bursary launched by British Sugar TOPSOIL

The UK’s largest supplier of topsoil to the construction, landscaping and amenity sectors – British Sugar TOPSOIL - has announced the launch of The British Sugar TOPSOIL Training Bursary 2017 to celebrate the business’s 20th anniversary. Two bursaries, each of up to £500, will be awarded to pay for training courses in the greenkeeping, groundsmanship, landscape contracting or garden design sectors.

Since British Sugar TOPSOIL first began operations in 1997 it has actively supported the industries it serves through its membership of trade and professional bodies, sponsorship of awards schemes and events, and hosting of educational visits to its topsoil manufacturing facilities in East Anglia. The establishment of an annual training bursary is yet another demonstration of TOPSOIL’s desire to give something back to the wider industry in this its 20th anniversary year.

National TOPSOIL Manager Andy Spetch had considered a number of ways to celebrate British Sugar TOPSOIL’s achievements over the past 20 years but felt that a training bursary would have the greatest potential to create a legacy and open up opportunities for anyone with drive and ambition who might be held back by financial constraints:

“Skills and training are fundamental to being successful in the sectors in which British Sugar TOPSOIL operates. Where the cost of training is proving to be a barrier to achieving success I hope the British Sugar TOPSOIL bursary can go some way to helping overcome it. I am looking forward very much to receiving applications from across the four sectors and expect to be inspired by the determination to succeed that will undoubtedly shine through the two successful submissions.”

Bursary applications must be made online through the TOPSOIL website at www.bstopsoil.co.uk/news-events, where full Terms & Conditions, including eligibility criteria, and an application form can be downloaded. The closing date for entries is Friday, 28th April 2017, with the two successful bursary recipients being notified by Wednesday, 31st May 2017.

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Candidates with Wandsworth staff & idverde.jpg 01/03/17

idverde supports Employment Skills and Learning Project

Wandsworth Council has been working in partnership with idverde, Enable Leisure and Culture, SLIC Training, and Job Centre Plus Wandsworth to deliver the council’s Tooting Common Heritage Project’s Employment Skills and Learning Project and help local people find jobs ground maintenance and landscape conservation.
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idverde supports Employment Skills and Learning Project

People in Wandsworth gain an insight into grounds maintenance and landscape conservation on Tooting Common, with support from idverde and training partners. Wandsworth Council has been awarded just under £1.4m by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as part of a larger £1.9m scheme to explore, restore, conserve and enhance the cultural and natural heritage of Tooting Common.

One of the many strands of the project is to support local people to gain new skills and employment in the borough. Wandsworth Council has been working in partnership with idverde, Enable Leisure and Culture, SLIC Training, and Job Centre Plus Wandsworth to deliver the council’s Tooting Common Heritage Project’s Employment Skills and Learning Project and help local people find jobs ground maintenance and landscape conservation.

Thanks to National Lottery players, in the first year of the project 15 candidates have taken part in the bespoke Level 1 City and Guilds Diploma in Land Based Studies (Environmental Conservation), developed in partnership with Enable Leisure and Culture and SLIC Training. 11 candidates passed the course with Merits and four candidates achieved Distinctions, a fantastic achievement.

Andrew Kauffman (idverde Assistant Director-Customer Support) said: “It has been a pleasure to work in partnership with our partner organisations in Wandsworth to develop this bespoke accredited training offer as part of the Tooting Common Heritage Project. It is great to see the confidence of candidates grow during the course. To then see them moving into full time employment is extremely rewarding, and testament to the dedication of all involved, but particularly the hard work of the candidates themselves.”

As a large national and local employer in the green spaces sector, idverde is always keen to encourage young people into the industry. Projects like Tooting Common Heritage Project allow young people not currently in education, employment, and training to gain an insight into an industry that they may not have considered previously. As well as providing them with key skills and recognised qualifications, the training empowers the students to find work in the industry. The scheme also provides local residents in Wandsworth with the opportunity to learn new skills and supports them in taking a more active part in the open spaces where they live.

Cllr Cook, Spokesman for Wandsworth Council, said: “It was a pleasure to meet the idverde team and their candidates. You could see their enthusiasm and the candidates’ desire for a career in ground maintenance and landscape conservation, and I’m delighted these training opportunities are being seized. It’s great to see the borough’s residents taking a hands-on role in restoring this wonderful historic common.”

Dameon Napoli, one of the participants who undertook the Level 1 Diploma course, said: “I have loved worked outside in the fresh air – I was working in a betting shop before this – so a big change – totally different! I live locally and have always brought my children here to play. Now I have made a positive impact on this space – it’s great.  As well as that, I’ve learnt some new skills and got some more qualifications, so it’s all good.”

Billy Mohan, another course participant, added: “I heard about this opportunity at the job centre – they had an open day. I decided I wanted to give this a go. I have really enjoyed being able to work outside in the Common. The first week was key for us all, as it was spent more on safety and maintenance of the equipment we’d be using. That gives you confidence.”

Fellow participant, Carl Taylor, commented: “I’ve been working outside for a few years now – but maintaining and improving the common is special. Working outside really suits me as it keeps my mind busy.”

Participant Ana Viera, also said: “Doing this has made me feel very protective of the areas we have worked on in the Common – almost maternal. I’m keeping my eye on one particular honeysuckle we planted, every time I come and visit a friend who lives nearby. What I have realised is that there are certain things you just take for granted in any open space - that I now know are hard work to maintain.

“We started at 8am and finished about 3pm to do an hour of class based coursework. I loved using the strimmer – once I was all in the gear I didn’t want to let the other guys have a go! I’d be really keen to turn this into a job with idverde. This has been a great starting point though, and I have transferable skills I didn’t have before.”

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government-apprenticeship.jpg 07/02/17

Department of Education launch 'Find Apprenticeship Tool'

The Department of Education's Skills Funding Agency has launched its new 'Find Apprenticeship Training Tool' to help employers across England find apprenticeship training.
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Department of Education launch 'Find Apprenticeship Tool'

The Department of Education's Skills Funding Agency has launched its new 'Find Apprenticeship Training Tool' to help employers across England find apprenticeship training.

You can find the new tool on the GOV.UK website here.

It provides employers with information about apprenticeships on offer at approved training organisations and includes information on more than 16,000 apprenticeships, as well as details about the training providers that can deliver the qualifications.

If you are a provider offering standards then you can enter your information on ‘Find Apprenticeship Training’ here.

Upon inspection of the website, by searching for 'Landscaping' and refining by Horticulture, you can find a list of training providers offering courses in your local area by inputting your postcode. 

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BFRS_GoLandscape_2017.jpg 31/01/17

Success for GoLandscape at the BFRS Careers Fair

GoLandscape Ambassadors Richard Kay, Chairman of Green-tech, and Richard Gardiner, Managing Director of NAG Solutions, represented BALI's new career initiative at the recently held British Forces Resettlement Service Careers Fair at the Aldershot Garrison, at the heart of a large army base.
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Success for GoLandscape at the BFRS Careers Fair

GoLandscape Ambassadors Richard Kay, Chairman of Green-tech, and Richard Gardiner, Managing Director of NAG Solutions, represented BALI's new career initiative at the recently held British Forces Resettlement Service Careers Fair at the Aldershot Garrison, at the heart of a large army base, on 19th January. GoLandscape was joined by Eljays44's Jamie Wilkinson and Liam Colclough. The aim of exhibiting at this particular event was to link the landscape industry with ex-servicemen and women who have retired from military forces, or, a change of career.

The hall maintained a steady flow of attendees throughout the 4 hour show, with over 45+ contacts made and established for the GoLandscape team to follow up on.

Those in attendance had all been through various types of training which would be transferable in the landscape sector. Most attendees were seeking a job in an outside environment and were looking to change careers within the next 12 months to 2 years. The landscape industry provides the perfect solution as it offers excellent structure and discipline, similar to that offered by the MOD.

Prior to the event taking place, BALI Registered Contractor Northumbrian Landscapes also supplied details of an open job vacancy; a landscape design and build position, including all relevant training as part of a new career opportunity within the landscaping industry. The GoLandscape team were able to match up two potential candidates for the role, one looking to relocate back to Northumberland.

GoLandscape continues to be trialled throughout the BALI South Thames Region. More developments, event announcements and updates will follow shortly.

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BFRSS-aldershot.jpg 13/01/17

BALI's GoLandscape team to exhibit at British Forces event

GoLandscape will be supporting the British Forces Resettlement Services' (BFRS) upcoming National Employment & Careers Fair of 2017 in Aldershot, promoting opportunities to work in the landscape industry to those men and women that have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, i.e: Service Leavers
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BALI's GoLandscape team to exhibit at British Forces event

BALI will be supporting the British Forces Resettlement Services (BFRS) upcoming National Employment & Careers Fair of 2017 in Aldershot, promoting opportunities to work in the landscape industry through its careers initiative, GoLandscape, to those men and women that have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, i.e: Service Leavers, the Reserve Forces and their families.

The BFRS event brings industry and the Armed Forces Community (AFC) together to provide future career opportunities and BALI is delighted to be championing the landscape industry to an entirely new sector of potential recruits.
 
BALI Board Director for Affiliates, Richard Kay, Chairman of BALI Registered Affiliate Green-tech and BALI Technical Officer Richard Gardiner, Managing Director of NAG Solutions Ltd, have both stepped in to support BALI and the GoLandscape initiative on Thursday 19th January at the Aldershot Garrison. 
 
BALI will also be joined by Eljays44's Horticulture Careers team, promoting BALI Jobs and open vacancies for the South Thames region and throughout the UK. The double-team setup of BALI and Eljays44 means the landscape industry has solid representation to help demonstrate how rewarding working in the landscape industry truly is, across a multitude of industry disciplines. 
 
The BFRS have continually strived to embrace the growing need to help its industry expand and fill the genuine skills gaps and shortages that are now being experienced throughout multiple sectors, including landscaping. This is one of the main reasons that GoLandscape team has offered to support this worthwhile cause. An analysis from the CBI/ Pearson Education reported “More than half of businesses UK-wide fear they will not be able to recruit enough high-skilled workers to meet demand and grow.” Whilst many private & public sectors have had understandable restraints on training and development, those who have and are serving in the Armed Forces, have always had a continuous professional development programme to ensure they deliver to the highest level, and ensure “qualifications that can be gained are matched to civilian qualifications (or accredited).” 

 
This training incorporates working directly with the huge number of commercial partners to the MOD, not only to provide best practice for the military, but bringing a hugely diverse workforce in line with industry standards. 

Therefore, BFRS has seen a high demand from industry to attend the Employment Fairs for the Armed Forces Community, as they understand business and the skill shortages that are now being experienced across many sectors, including transport & logistics, engineering and manufacturing, and fully recognise, by bringing military talent to industry, they can help companies deliver for the future.
 
The event will be held on Thursday 19th Jan 2017, between 09:30 and 14:00 at the Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre, Rawlinson Road, Aldershot, Hampshire. GU11 2LQ.
 
BFRS Managing Director Neil Dean states: “Our focus is on helping the Armed Forces Community find new careers which match their training, experience and aspirations. Visitors will be able to speak to employers and recruiters representing a wide range of industries and chat to training companies to identify any training needs they require for their chosen civilian career.”
 
The event is free entry for all attendees and you can turn up on the day or pre-register to reserve your place at www.bfrss.org.uk. We encourage attendees to bring their CVs with them to demonstrate their credentials to employers.
 
For further information or any press enquiries, please contact Dominic Hamberg, Operations Manager, on 0116 254 5477 / 07973 788848 or email dominic.h@bfrss.org.uk.
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apprenticeship-standards.jpg 05/01/17

Institute for Apprenticeships guidance published for consultation

Guidance from government to help ensure all apprenticeships are of the highest quality and deliver the skills that employers need have been set out, with further details of how the new Institute for Apprenticeships will operate.
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Institute for Apprenticeships guidance published for consultation

Further details of how the Institute for Apprenticeships will operate has been set out in a new draft strategic guidance document.

Guidance from government to help ensure all apprenticeships are of the highest quality and deliver the skills that employers need have been set out, with further details of how the new Institute for Apprenticeships will operate.

From April 2017, the Institute for Apprenticeships will help ensure employers get the quality skills that they need from the apprenticeships system by acting as the ultimate decision maker on approving apprenticeship standards and assessment plans.

The Institute for Apprenticeships will be responsible for approving new apprenticeship standards and how apprentices will be assessed to ensure they respond to the needs of business and give learners the skills and experience they need to succeed.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said:

"We are building an apprenticeships nation which will give millions of people a ladder of opportunity to secure the job they want and deliver the skills our economy needs.

We know apprenticeships work - 90% of apprentices go on to secure a job and nobody understands the skills employers need better than employers themselves. That is why we are introducing the Institute for Apprenticeships.

With employers at its heart, it will be charged with approving standards to ensure they are the highest quality"

The strategic guidance, published for consultation on the 4th January 2017, sets out in draft advice from the government to help it take forward the programme of reform to raise the quality of apprenticeships, giving employers more control over their content and assessment.

Under the measures set out under the Technical and Further Education Bill, the Institute for Apprenticeships remit will also expand to encompass all technical education and will deliver reforms across both apprenticeships-based and college-based routes, ensuring a more consistent approach to high-quality technical and skills-based education.

This will build further on the government’s upcoming industrial strategy, revitalising the economy by delivering high skills, high wages, and an environment where businesses across the UK can thrive.

The guidance confirms the institute’s main functions:

  • to set quality criteria for the development of apprenticeship standards and assessment plans
  • to review, approve or reject them
  • to advise on the maximum level of government funding available for standards
  • to ensure arrangements are in place to quality assure all end point assessments

Alongside the Institute for Apprenticeships, groups of employers, including the British Association of Landscape Industries, also known as ‘trailblazers’, are designing new apprenticeship standards that set out the exact skills, knowledge and behaviours needed. BALI, alongside BALI member companies, are setting the landscape apprenticeship standards.There are more than 1,400 employers involved in developing new apprenticeships with 260 apprenticeship standards already published.

The government's new apprenticeships range from nuclear to fashion, banking to defence. Through the apprenticeship levy, the government will be investing £2.5 billion in apprenticeships; double what was spent on apprenticeships in 2010-2011.

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Joe Redman - Alpha Rail Apprentice .jpg..jpg 12/12/16

Alpha Rail appoints Apprentice Business Development Co-ordinator

West Nottinghamshire College student, Joe Redman has joined Kirkby in Ashfield based metal railings and gates manufacturing company Alpha Rail as an Apprentice Business Development Coordinator.
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Alpha Rail appoints Apprentice Business Development Co-ordinator

West Nottinghamshire College student, Joe Redman has joined Kirkby in Ashfield based metal railings and gates manufacturing company Alpha Rail as an apprentice Business Development Coordinator.

Joe, aged 19, has recently achieved a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Interactive Media. During his college course, he spent time volunteering at a local primary school.

In his new role at Alpha Rail, Joe will help co-ordinate sales enquiries and follow up quotes, as well as helping to increase Alpha Rail’s presence online by attracting new customers using social media, e-news, blogs and articles.  As part of his continuing apprenticeship he will work towards a Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration.

Commenting on his new role, Joe said, “I researched Alpha Rail prior to my interview and realised how well established it was and felt reassured by the number of people who have worked here for 20 years or more. There is obviously a commitment to work to an extremely high standard and I am looking forward to developing a positive future with the company.

Alpha Rail was established in 1985 and manufactures metal railings, gates, pedestrian guardrail and other bespoke architectural metalwork. Over the Summer, works have been taking place on a new factory in Huthwaite. The plan is for all staff and machinery to relocate to the new premises by the end of 2016.

Sales Director Phil Ball added, “Alpha Rail presents opportunities for a promising career with roughly 50% of our team having over 20 years’ service. We are also proud that we have been able to offer previous apprentices secure permanent positions within the company.”

In his spare time, Joe likes to create digital media using programs such as After Effects and Photoshop. He has a great interest in technology, mainly computers, and enjoys building and fixing them. He has a brother and sister, and likes spending time with his family.  

Established in 1985, Alpha Rail is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of railings, gates, archways and other bespoke architectural metalwork. We are a founder member of the European Fencing Industry Association (EFIA) and affiliate members of the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI).

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lianne-barnett.jpg 25/11/16

Horticulture apprentice, Lianne Barnett, wins prestigious award

An apprentice with a wealth of plant knowledge has won a national award. 24-year-old Lianne Barnett, from Bentilee, has just completed her Level 2 NVQ Horticulture through PM Training and is an apprentice gardener at Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Carmountside Crematorium.
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Horticulture apprentice, Lianne Barnett, wins prestigious award

An apprentice with a wealth of plant knowledge has won a national award. 24-year-old Lianne Barnett, from Bentilee, has just completed her Level 2 NVQ Horticulture through PM Training and is an apprentice gardener at Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Carmountside Crematorium.

She has won the National BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) Best Student 2016 Award, with £100 prize money and a certificate. 

A surprise presentation ceremony took place on Wednesday 23rd November at Carmountside with Councillor Janine Bridges, Stoke-on-Trent City Council's cabinet member for economy and education.
 
Andy Mayer, Horticulture Assessor at PM Training said: “Lianne’s attitude is exemplary, she’s very competent at using and maintaining machinery. In her down time at work or at home she works on a plant file to learn all she can about horticulture, and she has formed great relationships with her colleagues at the council. As a female horticulture apprentice she has shown great confidence in integrating in a male world, she is very hard working and dedicated and she deserves this title.”
 
Lianne’s role as an apprentice gardener at Carmountside involves cutting the grass at the crematorium using ride on mowers, pedestrian mowers and strimmers, she also prunes shrubs and hedges, removes and plants out bedding and helps with the grave digging aspect of the job.
 
Councillor Randy Conteh, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “Lianne is a credit to the team and is a great example to other young people. Our grounds maintenance teams set the highest standards, and this can be seen by the fact that seven of our parks and open spaces in the city, including Carmountside, have Green Flag status – the highest national standard for the management of public places. We’re thrilled that Lianne has been recognised with the award and wish her every success for the future.”

 

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pershore-college.jpg 25/11/16

Pershore College discussion group reaffirms skills gap at 'crisis level'

At a recent discussion group at Pershore College, the skills shortage facing the horticulture industry was hot on the agenda, and was referred to as 'nearing crisis levels' according to those young people in attendance.
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Pershore College discussion group reaffirms skills gap at 'crisis level'

At a recent discussion group at Pershore College, the skills shortage facing the horticulture industry was hot on the agenda, and was referred to as 'nearing crisis levels' according to those young people in attendance. When looking collectively at the responses received from the 2013 'The Horticulture Matters industry group' survey, 72 percent of 200 businesses that participated were unable to find suitably skilled staff, leaving open vacancies across the horticulture industry which has left a large crater-sized gap to fill in 2016. A survey of 1,000 individuals revealed that 70 percent of 18-year olds believed careers in horticulture should be considered as a last resort and for those that are seen as 'failures academically' in the education system.

This striking data from this latest discussion, as well as the information from the 2013 survey, is another reason why GoLandscape, which supports not only horticulture but the wider landscaping industry as a whole, needs to act now to help other organisations and initiatives such as Grow Careers in closing the skills gap at source, by making younger people and their parents aware of how rewarding the industry actually is by using case studies and inspiring stories to stimulate new generations to get involved at an early stage academically and/or through work placed learning, to help change the negative perceptions that the industry seems to have been labelled with.

The GoLandscape team will now pilot the initiative in the South Thames region of England, before planning a wider roll-out of the scheme in early-2017, using the feedback and data collected from the trial. The pilot will include schools and college visits, talks and awareness sessions, starting at Year 9 level, as well as directing parents to the GoLandscape website for guidance on appropriate career paths for their children. 

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Ensata.jpg 24/11/16

Natural Pools specialist Ensata recruiting for two positions

BALI Registered Contractor Ensata, who specialise in the design, construction and maintenance of high quality Natural Swimming Pools are on the look out for two new positions.
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Natural Pools specialist Ensata recruiting for two positions

BALI Registered Contractor Ensata, who specialise in the design, construction and maintenance of high quality Natural Swimming Pools are on the look out for two new positions:

Project Building Manager

Location
Ensata is based at Gringley on the Hill, Nr Retford, North Notts, DN22 4SN

The work is nationwide and does involve staying away from home during the week.

Salary
£32,500 per annum.

Reporting to
Company directors.

Job description
To build bespoke Natural Swimming Pools in clients gardens from working drawings. This is a hands on site managers position leading a small team of builders / landscapers to complete these pool building projects on time to specification.

Responsibilities
You will be responsible for the quality build, landscape and finish of each project.  You will manage the daily work, phase in the materials and plan ahead the work order and requirements.  You will have up to 3 staff on site reporting directly to you.  You will need to maintain a good rapport during the build with the client whilst meeting the needs of the business at the same time.  All health and safety standards to be met.

Person specification
To have craftsman skill abilities in building, paving and hard landscaping.
To be able to understand working plans and use them for construction.
To be able to manage and lead a small team of building/landscaping staff.
To be able to plan, order and organise daily, weekly and monthly work.
To manage project time and report accurately to the directors.

Experience
To have at least 6 years experience in site work involving working plans, building and landscape work.  This should include marking out, groundworks, concrete laying, block work, paving, pipework and joinery.

Training
All necessary training will be provided including speciality skills. You will be well supported by the working director.

Landscape Craftsman

Location
Ensata is based at Gringley on the Hill, Nr Retford, North Notts, DN22 4SN

The work is nationwide and most work involves staying away during the week.

Salary
£20,000 per annum.

Reporting to
Project Building Manager.

Job description
To be part of a small team building and landscaping bespoke Natural Swimming Pools in clients gardens.

Person specification
To have craftsman skill abilities in general building and landscape work.
To be able to organise materials and plan your work.
To balance time with job progression during projects.
To produce work to a high standard within a small team of craftsman.

Experience
To have at least 3 years of experience in general building and landscape work.  To have experience and familiarity in site work to include marking out, groundworks, concrete laying, block work, paving, pipework, joinery and health and safety.

Training
All necessary training will be provided including speciality skills.
You will be well supported by your manager and working director.

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Hadlow College.jpg 24/11/16

Hadlow College students find careers with Twig Group

BALI Registered Contractor The Twig Group have employed three students from Hadlow College, Alex Rumph, Laurence Herring and Tom Denning. The Twig Group are specialists in ecological contracting, grounds maintenance and landscape design.
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Hadlow College students find careers with Twig Group

BALI Registered Contractor The Twig Group have employed three students from Hadlow College, Alex Rumph, Laurence Herring and Tom Denning. The Twig Group are specialists in ecological contracting, grounds maintenance and landscape design. Following significant development in the last two years, The Twig Group based in Goudhurst, have now increased their workforce by employing more staff. Alex and Tom took the FdSc Countryside Management course, which equips them for a wide range of careers within Countryside Management, whilst Laurence took the BSc in Countryside Management. Projects the students have been involved with are:-

  • Reptile and Great Crested newt survey, mitigation and translocation works

  • Sensitive vegetation clearance on protected sites
  • Reptile exclusion fencing
  • Tree felling and scrub works
  • Sowing of 450 acres of wild flower meadows
  • Planting of 65,000 trees and shrubs
  • Grounds maintenance on the KCC portfolio
  • Security fencing, stock fencing and bespoke custom fencing at various sites

Since its establishment in 2002, The Twig Group has built a comprehensive 
portfolio of clients across the South East and further afield. From complex, ecologically-
sensitive activities, through to logistically-challenging multi-site grounds maintenance contracts, The Twig Group are now working across 14 separate sites for a major house builder and working with 12 different ecological consultants.

Their success and growth is as a result of the unique approach to working with housing developers. They can advise early on in the process, alerting their clients on what to look out for when purchasing a site or prior to construction commencing. Practical solutions are provided with an understanding of construction programmes and timings to keep projects on track, which means a cost effective ecological service.

Head of Ecology at The Twig Group, James Dickinson said:
"Having previously been Programme leader on all of these courses at Hadlow College, I know the quality of students it turns out. The courses have been very successful with a wide range of students achieving well and getting jobs within the industry. What is great about my current role is that I often find myself meeting up with ex students on sites around Kent through work, which is a credit to the college”.

Website: twiggroup.co.uk Twitter: @twiggroup
For further information, please contact Penny Williams, Big Plan Group on 07850 103133 or email penny.williams@bigplangroup.com

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GoLandscape launch.jpg 18/11/16

GoLandscape launch hailed a success at FutureScape 2016

BALI's highly anticipated GoLandscape launch inspired the crowds at FutureScape 2016, whilst BALI-NCF and Adtrak contributed to a thrilling showcase for the Association.
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GoLandscape launch hailed a success at FutureScape 2016

BALI's highly anticipated GoLandscape launch inspired the crowds at FutureScape 2016, whilst BALI-NCF and Adtrak contributed to a thrilling showcase for the Association.

The British Association of Landscape Industries’ new careers initiative, GoLandscape, launched on Tuesday 15th November at the 5thanniversary of FutureScape in front of 120 students, landscapers, garden designers and career changers.

Eight inspirational speakers from across the wider landscape industry helped launch the initiative and included ITV’s Love Your Garden presenter, author and horticulturalist Francis Tophil; Plantsman, RHS Ambassador and Broadcaster Jamie Butterworth and landscaping veteran Rick Davies, Operations Director for Registered BALI Contractor Willerby Landscapes Ltd.

BALI’s Chief Executive Wayne Grills commented “We were delighted to have the support from a truly diverse and inspirational pool of individuals, representing a wide variety of skill sets from across the industry. Seeing them all come together to champion the importance of finding the next generation of landscaper, as well as to hone the message that landscaping provides real career opportunities for everyone, from all walks of life, was truly moving.”

He continued…

“Watching the audience interact with the panellists following an excellent Q&A session was extremely gratifying as it meant the individuals in the room were showing a real passion for the industry and a flare for creativity which was clearly in abundance. This is exactly what GoLandscape is designed to do by encouraging young people, students and career changers to take up roles as landscapers and garden designers to name just a few of the roles available. BALI will be working incredibly hard to maintain the momentum that was generated at the launch and we very much look forward to developing an exciting program of activity for 2017.”

BALI Board Directors David Dodd, owner of BALI Registered Contractor The Outdoor Room Ltd and Nigel Bowcock from BALI Registered Contractor Acre Landscapes Ltd are jointly responsible for the GoLandscape initiative.

David commented “What an incredible day for everyone involved, including me. To see so many faces in the audience eager to get stuck in and get involved with GoLandscape was a fantastic feeling. We look forward to working with the schools and colleges over the next few weeks and months as we continue to roll the initiative out across the UK”.

Nigel commented “What a buzz! This is what it means to be in the landscaping business. Yesterday’s event was a real career highlight. The passion and enthusiasm from those in the room meant everything to me and I can’t wait to get started on the next phase.”

Along with the launch event, BALI also unveiled its new GoLandscape website, www.golandscape.co.uk, which provides useful guidance and advice on starting out in the landscape industry and aims to inspire website visitors from all backgrounds just how rewarding the landscape sector can be.

GoLandscape will be piloted in the BALI South Thames Region first, starting next week, and running into the New Year, with careers events, workshops and school visits on the agenda, with further information on future activity to follow soon.

A launch video was shown off during the presentation, which can be viewed here.

Elsewhere, BALI had a successful show meeting lots of its members and introducing them to the GoLandscape initiative following the seminar. Lots of enquiries were received from new and prospective members and the stand’s proximity to the seminar rooms helped pull in interest from throughout the main hall.

BALI’s National Contractor Forum (BALI-NCF), a group of influential major contractors working in the landscape and grounds maintenance sector, also staged two seminar sessions during FutureScape, one focusing on the Apprenticeship Levy and the other on Managing our Green Spaces. Both seminars were well-attended and audiences were left suitably impressed with the quality of the speakers and the informative nature of the subject matter discussed.

Phil Jones, Chairman, BALI National Contractors Forum said “We were exceptionally pleased by the strong attendance and engagement at both our Apprenticeship Levy and the Managing our Green Spaces seminars held at Futurescape 2016; proof that both topics hold significant importance to our industry.  Our keynote speakers, all experts in their field, brilliantly captured the underlying themes, leaving our attendees informed, inspired and with much food for thought as to the steps we in the landscaping industry can take in both developing apprenticeships and managing our way through the challenges faced by contractors and local authorities in maintaining and managing our parks.  The Managing our Green Spaces session demonstrated how we can take best practice, innovation and success from other industries and sectors and use this to move forward on our own challenges.  The National Contractors Forum will continue to take a strategic leadership position to pull together good practice, the collection of data to provide evidence of the benefits of our Parks and to seek out collaborative partners to ensure our open spaces remain fit for purpose”

BALI’s latest membership benefit partner, Adtrak, who offer specialist digital marketing and web design services to members, were exhibiting at FutureScape for the very first time in the aptly named Adtrak Zone. Adtrak were delighted with the response to their free website health check and complimentary Google advertising credit packages that are exclusive to BALI members and picked up several quality leads from leading landscape organisations looking to improve on their own digital footprint.

Ben Shaw, Account Director, said: “FutureScape was a fantastic event and the team at Adtrak were delighted to be a part of it. We really enjoyed attending the day as BALI's digital partner and met some great people from within the landscaping industry while we were there. We hope they found our marketing advice useful - and we're looking forward to working with some of the people we met in the near future.”

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Gavin Jones Ltd. 11/11/16

Small Garden Design Ideas

Designing a garden with limited space does not have to limit what can be achieved. As a landscaper tasked with reworking a small garden, whether it be a roof top space or an urban courtyard, it’s time to think outside the box...
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Gavin Jones Ltd.

Small Garden Design Ideas

Designing a garden with limited space does not have to limit what can be achieved.  As a landscaper tasked with reworking a small garden, whether it be a roof top space or an urban courtyard, it’s time to think outside the box.  Using space intelligently is the key to making a small garden work; with a little imagination and some basic plant knowledge, even the tiniest of courtyards can be transformed into a beautiful and functional space.

Maximising space

Small gardens are often surrounded by brick walls, fences, garages or sheds.  Sprucing these areas up is a perfect way to hide unattractive features while at the same time adding colour and height:

  • A bright base – contrast a colourful painted wall with the flowers and plants in front of it.
  • Hanging plants – maximise ground space by planting up high.
  • Climbing plants – put up some trellis and plant some attractive climbers. 

Some ideas for creating hidden depth:

  • Work inwards, layering with contrasting pots and flowers, creating the illusion of space.
  • Design cascading planters which can be built simply out of wood.
  • Position potted plants in groups, from the largest at the back to the smallest at the front.
  • Strategically placed mirrors, partly hidden by foliage and flowers can add another dimension to an outdoor space.

Compact living areas

In order to enjoy their wonderful new garden, your customer will need somewhere to sit and admire it!  Seating areas do not have to be huge and can often serve as an attractive centre piece when positioned on a freshly laid patio.  But if space is severely limited, a simple and practical solution is to install a small, wooden bench which can be built in to other features if necessary.  Attaching a small area to serve as a coffee table next to the bench will finish it off nicely. 

Thinking about plants

Climbing and trailing plants are excellent for covering unsightly features can really bring a small space together.  Clematis is a good choice as it takes up little ground space.  Honeysuckle will also work well, and has the added benefit of filling the garden with fragrant scent. 

Smaller gardens are commonly shaded by buildings, trees or high fences.  Consider the direction the garden is facing and choose some tolerant plants that will thrive in more shady conditions. 

Many larger plants now come in dwarf varieties, for example fruit trees, which can look appealing when grown in patio pots. 

If there is a suitable wall in the garden, fillings its cracks and crevices with drought-proof plants to create a living wall will add lots of greenery without using any ground space.  Plants such as Ivy Leaved Toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis) and Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes) thrive on walls. 

Landscapers have to work in gardens large and small, if you’re up for the challenge of making the best out of a garden whatever the square footage, maybe a career in landscaping could be just for you. Click here to find out the different paths in the sector.

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Blooms-to-Brighten-up-a-Winter-Garden.jpg 11/11/16

Blooms to Brighten up a Winter Garden

There are plenty of plants that are at their best during colder weather, and with a little imagination you can create a vibrant display to brighten up the short and dreary winter days...
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Blooms to Brighten up a Winter Garden

During the autumn and winter months, when the view out of the kitchen window is drizzly and grey, many gardeners abandon their pots and plants as a lost cause. But there are plenty of plants that are at their best during colder weather, and with a little imagination you can create a vibrant display to brighten up the short and dreary winter days.

Before you begin:

There are some practical points to consider when planting and caring for a winter garden:

  • Positioning – even hardy winter greenery needs a healthy amount of light, so place containers in bright areas of the garden to ensure foliage remains at its best. For this reason, containers may be the best option as they can be easily moved to maximise conditions.
  • Containers - Severe weather can cause terracotta pots to crack, so choose frost-proof versions or containers made of wood, plastic or fiberglass. A good tip for preventing pot damage is to raise containers off the ground on bricks or pot feet, which also helps with drainage.
  • Watering - During periods of drizzly rain it can be easy to forget about watering. While winter plants will not usually need feeding, wind can dry out soil especially in hanging baskets, but too much rain and beds can become waterlogged. Check plants regularly for watering requirements.
  • Instant effect – most plants are dormant in winter, so choose mature specimens that are already at their best.

Winter greenery

Winter flowering pansies, Polyanthus and primroses: versatile little plants hardy enough to shrug off the winter cold. They will bloom for much longer than other bedding plants and come in a variety of different shades, providing a welcome splash of colour to window boxes, borders and hanging baskets from autumn right through to spring.

Bulbs: October and November are prime bulb planting months: from daffodils to dahlias, there are a huge range of bulbs to choose from. Underplant your bedding flowers and once Christmas has passed, a sea of vivid colour will emerge.

Evergreens: Despite the name, evergreens now come in a wide range of colours: gold, silver, hints of pink, bronze and orange. Ferns are good for shady spots, or for sunnier spots herbs such as lavender and rosemary cope well with the cold. Transplant to a more spacious location in April when they begin to grow.

Witch hazel: With its spidery red, orange or yellow flowers that appear in mid-late winter and its spicy fragrance, Witch Hazel is one of the finest winter flowering shrubs or trees. It can be planted in autumn or winter in a sunny or partially shady spot. It is hardy, frost resistant and wind tolerant making it the ideal garden winter warmer.

Winter Jasmine: another shrub or tree, it has white, pink or yellow, star-shaped flowers that make a wonderful seasonal embellishment to walls, fences and small areas of trellis.
Deciding what plants go where and at what time of year is an important part of being a Landscape Designer, if you’re interested in progressing in a career in this field, click here for more information.

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Boost-Business-Work-Experience.jpg 10/11/16

Boost Business with Work Experience

Work experience has obvious benefits for young people wishing to enter the job market: they gain an insight into the reality of working life within a willing organisation which will help them to secure future employment.
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Boost Business with Work Experience

Work experience has obvious benefits for young people wishing to enter the job market: they gain an insight into the reality of working life within a willing organisation which will help them to secure future employment.

Work experience can be good for businesses too, allowing them to ‘try before they buy’, so to speak. If handled correctly, taking on a work experience person can offer a wealth of benefits to employers and the sector as a whole.

Work experience benefits:

  • Risk free recruitment – work experience is a great way of finding fresh faces to ensure the future of your business. View a placement as a trial period in which to establish how well a potential employee would fit in with staff, company ethos and work, with absolutely no obligation at the end of it.
  • Nurture your own talent – snap up the talent of the future before anyone else gets to them! By bringing young people into your organisation, you can tailor their skills to boost your business. Investing in employees with on-the-job training helps employees to feel included and valuable, creating the motivated and loyal workforce essential to the success of any business.
  • Skill up the next generation – on a wider scale, providing young workers with a sense of purpose, belonging and ambition will help ensure the future of the sector as a whole.
  • Improve staff retention – investment in young people brings commitment. They are more likely to stay with the business which helps maintain productivity and reduce recruitment costs.
  • Cost-effective help – In many cases, you won’t have to pay the young people you take on for work experience, although you may like to cover their costs. It’s also a great solution to the common problems of temporary skills gaps and busy periods, enabling you to get flexible help for a fraction of the price.
  • Fresh ideas – young and eager minds bring new perspectives, potentially opening the door to emerging markets, or allowing a business to offer new. Need to get up to date with your website or social media? Who better than a young person to help you achieve digital success.
  • Build your reputation – being known as a business that offers work experience opportunities will raise the profile and appeal of your business and sector.

The outcome of a work experience placement will depend on how you approach it. It’s essential to have a clear role for the young person to undertake so you use their time working with you effectively. Simply observing others at work will be of no benefit to anybody!

Make the most of the passion and enthusiasm shown by someone who has put themselves out there to gain experience by giving them valuable and practical tasks. Well managed work experience will give young people a great opportunity to further their careers while also boosting business.

If you’re interested in offering work experience placements, approach your local schools and colleges. They will then help find suitable candidates who may already have an interest in becoming landscape gardeners.

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Work-Experience-for-Future-Landscapers.jpg 10/11/16

Work Experience for Future Landscapers

For young people wanting to embark on a successful landscaping career, a love of the outdoors, a willingness to get your hands dirty and an interest in gardening are essential qualities. But beyond that, there is no set route into the trade.
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Work Experience for Future Landscapers

For young people wanting to embark on a successful landscaping career, a love of the outdoors, a willingness to get your hands dirty and an interest in gardening are essential qualities. But beyond that, there is no set route into the trade.

Although there are plenty of training courses relevant to landscaping careers, no formal qualifications are required to become a landscape gardener. While a qualification in horticulture will no doubt be useful, landscape gardening is one of those roles where experience is regarded more highly than qualifications. If you find the right employer, they should put you through appropriate training.

Many young people find jobs or work experience in landscaping by identifying potential employers and enquiring about opportunities direct. Local landscaped areas, such as National Trust or council owned property often require volunteers, so getting in touch and asking if they need an extra pair of hands could be a good way of securing some valuable landscaping experience.

The benefits of work experience:

  • Get a feel for the job – landscaping covers such a wide range of jobs, from designing private gardens and planting flowers and shrubs, to tree surgery and hard landscaping on a construction site. Work experience will allow you to test your passions and talents to see what works for you.
  • Find employment – often, a successful work placement will lead to an offer of something more permanent, such as a traineeship, an apprenticeship or even full time employment. The difference between this and a regular job offer is that you have already tried and tested the position, so you have an idea as to whether it will suit you and if it’s something you wish to pursue long term.
  • Increase in knowledge – work experience will increase your occupational knowledge and understanding of the skills and attributes required for your chosen career path.
  • Improvement in communication skills – on a good work placement, you will gain experience of working with people, enhancing your social and communication skills.
  • Build a portfolio - many landscapers work on a wide variety of projects, which means that they gain a lot of experience in a short space of time. Having a portfolio of pictures, plans and processes is a great way to show off your skills to potential employers and future customers.
  • Shows initiative – seeking work experience shows willing, commitment and passion for landscaping – all very attractive qualities to a potential employer.
  • Compete for places on training courses – relevant work experience will set you to the top of the pile if you decide to undertake any of the vast array of training courses for landscape related careers.
  • Learning about recruitment process – applying for a work placement provides the opportunity to learn about the recruitment process, for example, how to apply for a job, and prepare for interviews.

Employers are more likely to offer work experience to someone they know, so make sure they can put a face to the name. Do some research about their business and visit them in person to ask about opportunities.

You can search for reputable firms to approach for work experience on the BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) website.

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