10 May 2015
Gardener wanted: opportunity at Allt-y-bela
Ever since I joined this wonderful industry there has been talk of a skills shortage and through my previous positions I have found first hand how difficult it is to recruit good gardeners. The truth seems to be that gardening doesn't particularly appeal to young people, gardening was certainly never spoken about as a potential career when I was at school and although I dearly hope that things have changed since then, I doubt it has.
I think that gardening suffers a little from the stigma it is something that retired people do as a hobby and although I would, of course, happily extol the virtues of gardening all day long (and often do to anyone who will listen!) I have to admit that I understand some of the causes for gardening's skills shortage.
The sometimes scandalously low wages, the exploitative nature of some of the larger employers, the lack of affordable housing for low paid workers and the image of gardening as relatively unskilled work, has eroded the position of gardener from its Victorian heyday to the rather sad state of affairs that we find today.
There is good news of course; the movement towards localism, the appreciation of craft and a really exciting crop of garden designers are helping to revitilise gardening and to put horticulture back in the public consiousness.
I have been very lucky to have received encouragement and support throughout my career; from my first tentative steps in the industry until now there have been great, passionate people who have helped and encouraged me at every step of the way. My own journey is very much a work in progress and Arne and the great people he works with are continuing to help me to learn and grow.
I have long felt a responsibility to encourage burgeoning talent myself and to try to give something back to this most generous of industries. All of this, of course, is a rather long winded way of saying that I need a bit of help at Allt-y-bela! Arne has great ambition for the garden here and we are increasingly seeing times when more could be done to reach a higher level if we had an extra pair of hands.
We are looking for someone in the early stages of their horticultural career (maybe it hasn't really started yet) with a passion, and a desire, to garden to the best of their ability. The person we need is not afraid of hard and heavy work (there are some hills around here) and they are not afraid to get a little bit wet along the way! Initially we are looking for someone for a day or so a week and they will probably need to be fairly local too.
What we can offer in return, besides modest renumeration, would be the opportunity to work here in Arne's beautiful garden in a supportive environment with endless opportunities for learning.
We felt it was really important to reach out in this way, through people who really love what Arne does, to try to find that passionate hardworking person who would truly appreciate the experience of working at Allt-y-bela. If you think you might know someone who would be interested, or indeed if you are interested yourself, then please get in touch. We would love to hear from you and be given the opportunity to help you in your horticultural development.
Words: Steve Lannin, Head Gardener at Allt-y-bela
Photos: Britt Willoughby Dyer
If you are interested in the position of assistant gardener at Allt-y-bela, please send your current CV and covering note to Steve Lannin by email to: