The United Nations COP26 climate summit is in progression in Glasgow. It has been described as a “turning point for humanity” with outcomes that will have significant impact on the world. On Wednesday 3rd of November, we have the first event of the Grow Careers Scotland Virtual 2021 series showcasing “Best Practice Across the Horticulture Industry in meeting the UN’s Sustainability Goals.”  This will be followed by a further event on the 10th of November. The final Grow Careers Scotland virtual 2021 event will be held on 17th of November. The speakers include Dr Suzanne Moss, Head of Education and Learning at the Royal Horticultural Society, Phil Pearson, Technical Director of the APS Group and Tom Smarr who has over two decades of experience working in ecological horticulture design and management, conservation, botanic gardens and public parks leadership. The breadth of knowledge of the speakers will give an insight into many different aspects of our profession.

The Government has recently published its Net Zero Strategy. The Strategy sets out the Government’s policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy, in light of the UK’s 2050 net zero target. The horticultural industry has an important part to play being involved in so many different fields. Alternative power sources, recycling materials and efficient automation of glasshouse production are some of the ways the industry is responding.

As we are all aware education at all levels is undergoing change, and we have seen a reduction in the variety of courses provided. In the recent budget it was announced that £1.6bn will be provided over the next three years to roll out new T-level apprenticeships for 16 to 19-year-olds and £550m for adult skills in England. It is expected that T-level Horticulture and land-based apprenticeships will be rolled out in 2023 and will increase accessibility to Horticultural qualifications at all levels.

The need for recreational greenspace cannot be underestimated. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the lack of recreation facilities in densely populated areas. This impacted on the health and wellbeing of many people. The budget allocation of £9 million for councils to turn neglected urban spaces into small parks is a positive step to start increasing the provision and will benefit many local communities.

I am pleased to confirm that The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition will be held at the University of Warwick on Saturday 7th May 2022. This central location will make it accessible to a larger audience. We are also looking forward to regional finals being held in each branch.

Following a request to members, we have had a really good response for branch committee support and finally, we are putting together arrangements for our conference in 2022. The details will be announced shortly.

Susan Nicholas FCIHort