Perennial funds new horticultural traineeship at West Dean Gardens

UPDATE June 2018

Please note that this position has now been filled. West Dean Gardens will be recruiting again in May/June 2019.

Perennial, the UK’s only charity dedicated to helping all horticulturists in times of need, is delighted to confirm a new partnership with West Dean Gardens, part of The Edward James Foundation, a charitable education trust located on the 6,400 acre West Dean Estate in West Sussex. It is the first Perennial funded traineeship to be agreed at West Dean and further strengthens Perennial’s existing portfolio of fully funded placements for students of horticulture.

The new trainee will assist in the day to day cultivation, maintenance and development of the gardens. Working under the acclaimed Gardens Manager Jim Buckland, the successful candidate will receive paid, high quality on-the-job training which includes an appropriate RHS qualification by day release at a local horticulture college.

Speaking about the new funding agreement, Sheila Thomson, Director of Services at Perennial, said,

“We are delighted to be able to offer this new traineeship and look forward to working with the team at West Dean Gardens for many years to come. We see this placement as an important development in Perennial’s ongoing commitment to make a long-term contribution to horticulture training.”

The funding is provided through Perennial’s Lironi Training Fund, established in 2009 with a generous legacy left to Perennial by Miss Joan Lironi.

Sheila Thomson continues,

“We seek training partnerships that offer practical experience coupled with a recognized qualification that will further students’ future employment prospects. This traineeship offers both with the added bonus that trainees are employed by West Dean full time and enjoy the same terms and conditions as other staff.”

Jim Buckland, Gardens Manager at West Dean Gardens, said,

“We are very pleased to be working with Perennial to offer a future horticulturist the chance to learn in the wonderful gardens here. The work will be varied, encompassing the full range of horticultural skills required by those wishing to pursue a career in horticulture, all learned in the stimulating environment of our internationally recognised gardens. I look forward to welcoming a new member of the team to West Dean.”

The traineeship runs for fixed 2 year term with a salary of £16,500 for a 39 hour working week. The closing date for applications for the new Trainee Horticulturist is Friday 23 June. Interviews will take place in late June / early July.

For the full job description, person specification and terms and conditions of employment, please contact Alfie Gould, HR Assistant, or for an informal chat, please contact Jim Buckland (Gardens Manager) on 07795 002353.

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For all media enquiries, interviews, photographs and additional information, please contact:

Clare Johnson | | 07815 041635

Jennie Spears | | 07944 552634



Perennial offers free, confidential advice and support to everyone working in or retired from horticulture and their families, including gardeners, garden designers, landscapers, landscape architects, nursery and garden centre staff, parks and grounds care staff, arborists and tree surgeons. People turn to Perennial for financial and emotional help in times of need because of disability, sickness, poverty, financial hardship and old age – although increasingly younger people are seeking assistance from the charity. Many individuals describe the services Perennial offers as a ‘lifeline’. The work of Perennial depends entirely on voluntary donations from the horticultural industry and the garden-loving public.

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Award-winning West Dean Gardens in West Sussex is one of the greatest restored gardens open to the public. It is part of The Edward James Foundation, the registered charitybehind West Dean College, which is internationally recognised for creative arts and conservation education.  The Gardens welcome thousands of visitors each year  attracted to its uniquely beautiful and creative environment.

Find out more about the gardens at