The Garden Centre Group hopes to recruit 120 young trainees into its horticultural apprenticeship programme in a bid to create the garden centre managers of the future.
The apprentices will study for two days a month at Pershore College in Worcestershire for a level two diploma in horticulture. They will spend the rest of their time learning about garden retailing on the ground in the Group's garden centres.
Two of the apprentices will be selected to spend a week at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, where they will get the chance to work across five different departments within the gardens.
The apprenticeship programme features The Garden Centre Group's e-learning scheme, as well as Masterclass college days specially designed for the programme. The apprentices will receive a wage, which has been quoted as 'attractive compared with paying £9,000 tuition fees at university'.
The Garden Centre Group is also developing an apprenticeship scheme that focuses on professional cookery, whereby apprentices will receive training from Westminster Kingsway College.
Regional apprentice manager for training, Ryan Simpson said: "Our horticultural apprenticeship programme is designed to identify and develop the nation's future gardening professionals. It is essential that businesses provide young people with opportunities that will give them the skill and understanding for an exciting career and we look forward to welcoming our new apprentices."