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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 920: XXVIII International Horticultural Congress on Science and Horticulture for People (IHC2010): VI International Symposium on Horticultural Education, Research Training and Consultancy

DEVELOPMENT OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAMMES WITH ACTIVE LINKS TO CURRENT RESEARCH

Authors:   C.L. Strawbridge, M.R. Emmett , I. Ashton
Keywords:   production horticulture, ornamental, training, qualifications, vocational
Abstract:
During the last two decades, in the UK and other parts of Europe, there have been a declining number of participants enrolled for qualifications in horticultural crop production. Each year less than 0.1% of the UK commercial horticulture produc¬tion workforce participates in the main UK horticultural training programme (the National Vocational Qualification). This contrasts with increasing demand for suitably qualified staff; in turn limiting business development in the sector. Historically these qualifications have focused on practical skills, but changes within the industry and new technologies are requiring a greater emphasis on underpinning knowledge and environmental issues in horticultural operations. There are a wide range of technical resources for training support, many linked to continuing professional development (CPD) and assurance schemes. Until recently, very few have been integrated into training programmes for recognised qualifications. This paper describes a unique collaboration in the UK between the University of Reading, The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), and the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) that provides learning on the fundamental principles of crop production but also acts as a mechanism for technology transfer to benefit research activities in the sector. The partnership is developing a new generation of vocational qualifications designed to integrate with the latest research outcomes and also facilitates feedback from the industry to the research community.
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