The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) extends a warm welcome to aspiring horticulturalists as enrolment opens for the new Agriculture, Land Management, and Production T Level this month (September). These dynamic two-year courses offer a unique opportunity for students fuelled by a passion for plants, the environment, and the planet's future to acquire the essential knowledge and skills necessary for a fulfilling and enduring career spanning diverse roles, including environmental horticulture and beyond.
The most recent Youth Voice Census highlights that young people often feel they lack the necessary work experience, life skills, and practical job-hunting prowess to progress. Only 34.4% of students in education believe they understand the skills sought by employers, and a significant 56.6% of job seekers identify their main barrier to employment as a lack of work experience. Skills gaps, labor shortages, and hard-to-fill vacancies are cited by businesses across the sector as key challenges. Increasing the routes to joining the sector, such as through T Levels, is one route, with more routes sought – from apprenticeships to degree courses – to deliver on growth ambitions.
Over 250 employers have actively contributed to developing the various T Levels, including Agriculture, Land Management, and Production, ensuring that young individuals acquire the knowledge, skills, and behaviors essential for embarking on successful career journeys or further studies.
The T Level qualification in Agriculture, Land Management, and Production targets 16-19-year-olds, where they can choose to study from a range of occupational specialisms such as livestock production, crop production, horticulture, land-based engineering, trees and woodlands, or floristry. They will also cover essential core topics: sustainability, climate change impact, health and safety, business management, professional responsibilities, attitudes, and behaviors.
Alex Jenkins, Learning & Development Manager at the Horticultural Trades Association, shared her enthusiasm, saying:
"I am thrilled to witness the launch of these new T Levels and to follow the progress of the first students entering our industry. The recruitment challenges within our sector are well-documented. We must inspire and attract talented young individuals to contribute to the future of horticulture. Simultaneously, we are dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment that welcomes adults and individuals pursuing career changes and wanting to make a meaningful contribution to the environment. Our remarkable industry has the power to create rewarding and sustainable employment opportunities for all, regardless of their diverse abilities and wide-ranging interests. As a sector, we are unwavering in our commitment to inclusivity and supportiveness.
"Environmental horticulture supports 674,000 jobs in the UK economy, contributes towards UK GPD of £28.8 billion, and supports tax revenues of £6.3 billion, making a significant economic, social, and environmental contribution to all our lives." T Levels, or Technical Levels, introduced in 2020, are equivalent to three A levels, comprising 80% classroom-based learning with 20% industry placement, providing students with approximately nine weeks of invaluable practical experience. While some colleges may not offer T Levels in September 2023, alternatives like BTEC and other level 3 courses will remain available. It is worth noting that plans include withdrawing funding for BTECs and similar level 3 courses by September 2025, positioning T Levels in agriculture as the primary level 3 vocational qualification for 16-19-year-old full-time learners.
Enrollment is available at several colleges and will continue until November 1.
For more information:
Horticultural Trades Association