A survey to investigate the future skills needs of the UK arboriculture and ornamental horticulture sectors is being carried out to provide insight about the potential training and resource gaps for the £24.2billion industry.
Results from the survey will help equip the sector with knowledge to inform a skills strategy, tailored to the industry and to help provide data to support funding and resource decisions.
According to a report by Oxford Economics, the UK ornamental industry supported 568,700 jobs in 2017, amounting to 1.6 percent of total UK employment and with Arboriculture contributing £709 million to UK GDP.
The survey will contact 1000 businesses. It is co-funded by AHDB Horticulture, Royal Horticultural Society, Arboricultural Association, British Association of Landscape Industries, Chartered institute of Horticulture and Land Based Colleges Aspiring to Excellence following a need identified by the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group.
Stewart Wardrop, CEO of the Arboricultural Association, said:
“Horticulture delivers the same GDP value as the whole of the aerospace industry in the UK. Arboriculture on its own, roughly equates to the same size as the entire UK fishing industry; so why aren’t horticulture and its constituent industries heard or valued in a similar way? One of the biggest challenges is addressing the skills shortage within the industry and securing the funding to change this.”
With the increase in technological innovation within Arboricultural working practices, the survey will also consider the impact of automation on the skill requirements of the workforce.
Speaking on the launch of the survey, Arboricultural Association Chairman Jaime Bray said:
“This is a crucial opportunity to gain more detailed insight into the current characteristics of the labour force in the arboriculture industry. It will help to ascertain the skills gaps that need to be addressed now an in the future, and provide the data needed to secure the funding to make those changes happen.”
Labour shortages are a critical issue for many Arboricultural contractors, with 57% of members selecting ‘Education and Staffing’ as the biggest challenges facing them at work.
The skills survey is being conducted via phone by Pye Tait Consulting between April and June. An online survey is also available to complete here:
Take the Survey
If you would like further information or wish to participate in additional focus groups, please contact: Michael Oberreuter on 01423 509433 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
More information and resources to help horticultural businesses off-set the challenge of access to labour can be found at ahdb.org.uk/smarthort.