Delamore and Fenland Council team up to create horticultural training college

ONE of Fenland’s biggest employers has today revealed plans for a horticultural training college - and the first six apprentices will be recruited this year.

Delamore Young Plants, based in Wisbech St Mary, Fenland District Council and the College of West Anglia have joined forces to provide the facility which will cost �125,000 in the first two years.

Council leader Alan Melton announced the facility at a business breakfast organised by Archant, parent company of this newspaper, before today’s meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet in Wisbech.

Cllr Melton said: “I am pleased to announce today that Fenland District Council and R. Delamore Ltd have joined together to provide and build a horticultural training facility at its depot at Wisbech St Mary.

“The facility will provide training in propagation, research and development, marketing, packaging and finance etc.

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“We are using the new powers under the planning reform act and the localism act to help facilitate this scheme. I can also announce that the first six apprentices will be recruited during 2012 with more to follow in 2013.

“These apprentices will work and train on the job, they will not only benefit existing staff, but also the horticultural industry. There will be practically based skills training as well as formal training.

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“This first stage will cost �50,000 in 2012 and �75,000 in 2013. We shall be seeking further funding from the EU, and hopefully with the help of (NE Cambs MP) Steve Barclay, some residual government grant.

“This is an initiative with the public and private sector working together. My sincere thanks to R. Delamore and in particular Wayne Eady, the managing director, for working so closely and enthusiastically with us.”

Delamore celebrated its 50th anniversary last year by winning the Medium Business of the Year and the Business of the Year awards at the 2011 Fenland Enterprise Business Awards, run by the Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard.

Mr Eady said the new horticultural college will “build some security into the workforce of Delamore”.

He said: “We recognised that for some years we underinvested in people. Having recognised that we are working with Fenland District Council and the College of West Anglia on a three-stage plan.

“Stage one is to recruit six apprentices as soon as possible, stage two is to recruit people in other areas such as office administration and finance and stage three is to develop a skills centre closely aligned to the Metalcraft model at Chatteris (the Fenland Engineering Skills Centre) where we can provide training on-site.”

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