Thursday, 3 February 2011

Economic downturn: Crisis or ‘growing’ opportunity

Do you want to drastically reduce your weekly grocery bill, earn extra cash to cover increased living expenses or just find work in a secure and growing sector?

The financial crisis has led us to think more about our financial situation and to rethink our options when it comes to employment and saving money. The Horticultural sector, including careers in Horticulture, offers us a number of potential answers.

Options include growing vegies at home or buying from Farmers Markets. Farmers Markets are booming and so are the hobby farms and small businesses that supply them. Some major seed companies have apparently reported double digit growth in vegetable seed sales across Australia in recent years.

If you are looking for a career change, the Horticultural career sector is thriving. According to Academy Zone adviser Dr James MacAskill, more than half of the UK's  professional horticulturists left the industry in some sectors in recent years.  Dr MacAskill said ‘As a result there is a deficiency in qualified horticulturists’. Anyone who has a background in plant science, can tell a weed from a plant and can properly identify at least 300 different plants will have a large range of possibilities for work in front of them.  Academy Zone is in a unique position to help, offering a range of horticulture courses and qualifications ranging from Certificates to Diplomas.

As finances tighten, workers are increasingly forced to look for a second job to make ends meet. Horticulture also offers a huge range of potential part time employment opportunities, from lawn mowing to working in plant nurseries or places such as Garden Centre Group or B&Q with many of these business requiring extra workers on the weekend. The earning potential of workers within the Horticulture Field has also increased. There are some 83,000 people employeed in  over 1700 production horticulture companies in the UK earning from £8 per hour to £25 per hour.  According to Dr MacAskill, ‘Five years ago, people would mow lawns and tidy gardens for £5 per hour. Today in cities gardens it can be difficult to get your lawn mown or garden tidied for less than £20 per hour.’

Academy Zone Distance Education offers over 120 courses in horticulture from hobby to diploma level.  To ensure you have the right advice to start your horticulture career ACS provides Free Course & Career Counselling.  Contact, or visit

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