AG has forged a partnership with CAFRE Greenmount Campus, in a bid to help horticulture students gain real-life industry experience.
CAFRE at Greenmount Campus is the only college in Northern Ireland to offer professional qualifications in Horticulture, with students covering landscape gardening including installation of hard landscaping. There are currently 40 full time students and 32 part-time students across its general and landscape classes at craft and supervisory level courses (i.e. Level 2 and Level 3).
AG recently hosted 11 students at its Ballygawley site, where the students got hands-on experience of cutting concrete paving slabs and laying them out in preparation for a brochure photo-shoot for “Outside Rooms”, the consumer-facing landscaping product arm of AG.
For students studying at levels two and three (typically aged 16-25), there are several AG “Outside Rooms” work placement positions now up for grabs, where they will gain exposure to the day-to-day running and upkeep of the AG “Outside Rooms” showrooms or work in alongside AG’s award-winning professional landscape designer.
Alan McIlveen, Greenmount College, said: “There is a big need for young skilled professionals coming through. More and more people now are shunning house moves for redesign and renovation and with that comes the need for skilled landscapers and landscape gardeners to help bring their vision to life. As a college we have being doing exceptionally well in the Worldskills competitions for landscape gardening with CAFRE-trained students being part of the two-person UK team for each of the last four competitions and with another recently graduated student heading off in August to compete in Worldskills 2019 Kazan, Russia.
We’ve had a very positive relationship with AG for some years now as one of the industry leaders in outdoor paving in NI but this latest initiative will strengthen it and also give our enthusiastic landscaping students a stronger bridge from learning to doing.”
The concrete product manufacturer has also kindly offered a £1000 foundation degree bursary in 2019 to help one lucky student begin their learning journey and embark on a career in landscape construction.
Michelle Folliard at AG said: “This partnership is a really positive move for us here at AG as we’re constantly looking to review and improve our pool of preferred layers to recommend to our customers. To start the relationship with tomorrow’s landscape gardeners today can only be a good thing and it’s nice to know we’ve played a part in their development.”