10 years and growing at Belvedere Horticulture School

On May 22nd last, Westmeath Community Development’s Horticulture programme held its graduation ceremony at Belvedere Horticulture School with 12 students graduating from the 2018-2019 class.

Delivered in the beautiful surrounds of Belvedere House & Gardens and funded by Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board, the programme is aimed at those aged 16-35 years, and specifically designed for those experiencing barriers to the labour market and accessing mainstream training or education.

Now in its 10th year running, the Level 5 Horticulture programme continues to achieve some of the highest progression rates compared to similar courses in the country, with over 80% students progressing to either further education or employment.

Graduates find employment in Garden Centres, Landscaping companies, OPW and County Councils, Castle Estates and Parklands, Center Parcs, Golf Courses, as well as nursery and stock plant specialists. Many of our past students are now in management roles in various horticulture projects throughout the country and abroad. Two of our past students are now completing their PhDs in Botany, while 6 of last years’ graduates are currently studying Level 6 & 7 degrees at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin.

The course offers a unique blend of classroom learning and practical work experience with a number of students undertaking work placements at the prestigious Kew Gardens in London in recent years.  Course modules include garden design, plant & soil science, plant identification and use, plant propagation, fruit and vegetable production.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Programme Co-ordinator John Smyth commented,

‘We are really proud to reach such a milestone delivering the programme over the past 10 years and particularly proud of the great progression rates we have achieved. It is testament to the quality of the programme, the great support from our funders, as well as the dedication of our team here in Belvedere Horticulture School. We wish this year’s graduates every success for the future, we’ve no doubt that they will go on to achieve great things as previous graduates have done’.  

Programme Manager Tony McCormack with Westmeath Community Development added,

‘I would like to congratulate all the students on their excellent results and on their progression to employment in the horticulture industry. The progression rates on the course are excellent with past pupils gaining employment with many local authorities and garden centres. I would also like to thank all the Westmeath Community Development staff associated with the course for their hard work and dedication over the years in making this one of our flagship training programmes’.

Registrations are now open for our summer programme (Level 4 in Horticulture) which runs from June to August 2019, while our Level 5 programme begins on 9th September 2019 and runs until August 2020. For more information please contact Eileen in Belvedere Horticulture School on 087-7923349.