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Case Studies > The MacRobert Trust Horticultural Training Scheme

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Case Study The MacRobert Trust Horticultural Training Scheme Aboyne www.helpingithappen.co.uk
Case Study The MacRobert Trust Horticultural Training Scheme Providing opportunities to ensure important rural skills can be passed on to the next generation lies at the heart of operations at the MacRobert Trust. One of the principle aims of the Trust is to conduct successful and innovative horticultural operations which enhance the environment, and provide training for new entrant gardeners through their Horticultural Training Scheme.

The MacRobert Trust is an amalgamation of several charitable trusts originally established in memory of her family by Lady MacRobert, based on the MacRobert Estate centred on the village of Tarland in rural Aberdeenshire.

Each year up to four new entrants to horticulture, or current and recently qualified horticulture students wishing to gain practical experience, are carefully selected and awarded traineeships on the MacRobert Trust Horticultural Training Scheme. The traineeships are for a minimum of 12 months, where they are paid a salary and provided with accommodation on the estate if it is needed.

Trainees take a hands-on role under the supervision of experienced gardeners, principally at the Trust’s seventeen-acre flagship gardens at Douneside House, where there are lawns, ornamental and productive gardens, as well as glasshouses, polytunnels and coldframes. Training is sometimes extended to a second year for particularly good trainees who would benefit. The experienced gardeners on hand at the MacRobert Trust provide invaluable insight and knowledge, mentoring the students and teaching them how carry out their job efficiently and effectively given the materials and resources at hand.

The trainees gain valuable experience in a variety of areas, including lawn maintenance, herbaceous and shrub cultivation, production of bedding, fruit and vegetable cultivation, greenhouse culture and management, use and maintenance of machinery, infrastructure repair and maintenance, and hard/soft landscaping.

The MacRobert Trust gardens have been accredited by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) as a ‘Qualifications Approved Learning Centre’, and practical training and assessment to RHS Level 1 and 2 can now be provided in-house.

Once the trainees have successfully completed their traineeship, they are awarded the MacRobert Trust Trainee Gardener Certificate, and the Trust provide them with support in finding further employment or training within the horticultural industry. In so many cases, new entrants can struggle to overcome the final hurdle in finding a new job due to their lack of ‘practical experience’ but thanks to the MacRobert Trust Horticultural Training Scheme a good number of their trainees have gone on to successful horticultural careers at prestigious gardens around the country, including a number of National Trust for Scotland (NTS) properties.
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