Thomas Clarkson students start sowing seeds for success at Delamore’s new Fenland Horticultural Academy
PUBLISHED: 11:57 14 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:57 14 February 2014
The first crop of students from a Wisbech school have picked up their trowels and started ‘green studies’ at a new horticultural centre.
Students from Thomas Clarkson Academy started practical lessons on Friday at Fenland Horticultural Academy, which opened last summer at Delamore in Wisbech St Mary.
The students are completing a Royal Horticultural Society level 1 qualification under the tutelage of experts from Manea School of Gardening.
Students will learn the gardening basics - such as sowing, potting and planting - before growing their own plants and produce that they can sell or use in their school’s kitchen.
On Friday, students moved out of the growing glasshouses for the first time and started to plant in their own pots.
Year 10 student Paige McDarby, who is one of 13 students on the course, said: “I am really enjoying it, particularly the practical side of things.
“It is great that we will get a qualification and if we progress onto the Level 2 qualification it will be equivalent to a GCSE.”
Alan Mitch, from Manea, who alongside colleague Mary Larham has been teaching students the green skills, said: “The students have progressed well – from very little knowledge to now sowing and planting.
“You can really see the satisfaction that they get out of doing the practical tasks.”
Hetty Cliss, Thomas Clarkson’s careers advice information and guidance ambassador, said: “This a great opportunity for our students who are gaining not only a recognised horticultural qualification, but also skills for life.
“There is a real shortage of qualified horticulturists in Fenland so it is a chance for them to gain insight into a potential career path.”
The horticultural centre is a joint initiative between Delamore Young Plants, Fenland District Council and the Cambridgeshire Enterprise Partnership.
Adam Parry, Delamore’s HR manager, said: “Young adults can develop their horticultural and workplace skills in a commercial environment, whilst at the same time grow their own successful futures.
“This is also an opportunity for Delamore to continue our aspirations in bring young people into a raw Fenland industry, with an aim of filling the current industry ‘green skills gap’.
“We hope that one day the students could join our apprenticeship programme.”