Horticultural apprenticeship scheme launched

Arts & Education
A ground breaking horticultural apprenticeship scheme has been jointly launched between Oldham College and Oldham Council
The scheme is the result of co ordination between between Oldham Council's Environmental Management team and Oldham College.
Oldham College staff approached the council a year ago regarding the grounds maintenance of the Rochdale Road campus and potential landscape developments.
Councillor Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Employment and Skills, said: “Our Environmental Management team has a proven track record of training employees and the wider community.
“Thanks to apprenticeship schemes and the talent that comes from them, we already have a fantastic national reputation and some of the best public parks in Britain, including Alexandra Park, which year on year secures Green Flag status.
“Over the last 15 years we’ve engaged with out of town providers to deliver the training but we have always had the vision that this could be delivered within the borough for Oldham Council staff and residents.
“Thanks to our partnership with Oldham College this has now come to fruition. We now want to build on that and create a learning offer for people across the region - ensuring Oldham is at the heart of learning and education within the sector. This not only provides a superb educational opportunity but also brings with it an economic benefit to the town.
Debra Woodruff, Deputy Principal of  Oldham College Debra Woodruff added, “We are delighted to be working closely with Oldham Council to introduce a Horticulture Apprenticeship programme in Oldham. 
“A local offer of this kind is long overdue and we look forward to being able to deliver this in the first class surroundings that Oldham’s parks offer. The partnership will also offer traineeship opportunities for local people to progress into sustained employment, and provide work experience placements for our students.  
“We believe this is the start of a true partnership to upskill Oldham residents and allow them to compete in the Greater Manchester labour market.”
There are other courses planned in other areas such as bricklaying and carpentry and possibly land-based skills centre linked to Alexandra Park.
To find out more about the course log onto http://www.oldham.ac.uk/apprenticeships/