MP Alex Cunningham highlights the job search at Wilkinsons Landscapes

Simon, who studied horticulture at the now-defunct Askham Bryan College in Guisborough, called for more structured and higher quality training for those in the Tees Valley interested in the sector.

Simon said: “The company has grown steadily over the years and we now employ more than 20 people across the plant centre, head office and in the field to carry out landscaping work on behalf of our customers.”

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“When I started in this business as a teenager, there were lots of other good training opportunities and people were happy to get their hands dirty to learn the ropes.

“It’s a shame because horticulture is such a rewarding profession and I wish more people would think about it. Seeing the results of your hard work literally bloom before your eyes is unbeatable in my opinion.

“Unfortunately there are now simply no longer the same opportunities for young people or older people hoping to make a career change, to receive appropriate training in the industry and to gain qualifications.”

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, visited the factory center to see the recent investment to create a cafe and learn how the family business has grown from a one-man business to a thriving business over the last four decades.

During his visit, Mr. Cunningham viewed Wilkinson’s computer-aided design processes and supported its efforts to address work challenges.

Simon said: “I’m delighted that Alex took the time to visit our factory center and find out all about the company.

“He was really interested in hearing how he could help encourage more people, particularly older people, who are unemployed or considering a part-time job in retirement.”

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Mr Cunningham said: “Wilkinson’s is a long-established local family business and it’s great to see it going from strength to strength and creating jobs for local people.

“Simon and I had a good chat about the lack of horticultural training locally and the resulting recruitment and retention of staff and trainees in the profession.

“This is something I hear about regularly when I speak to local farmers, growers and the National Farmers Union, and it is clear to me that we need to do more to improve education and training opportunities, with educators working with experts like Simon to achieve this Promoting horticulture is a viable career path.” MP Alex Cunningham highlights the job search at Wilkinsons Landscapes

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