CABE and English Heritage have published the first research to reveal the full extent of skills shortages in the green space sector, in careers ranging from parks managers to tree surgeons.
Green space skills 2009, a survey of green space employers in the public, private and third sectors, provides an insight into the effects of the recession and service cuts on parks and green space jobs.
The recession is hitting green space organisations hard and is likely to have a big impact on the quality of the public realm. A quarter of those in the public sector expect a decrease in recruitment and a fifth say green space departments are experiencing a greater reduction in budgets than other local authority departments. Sarah Gaventa, Director of Public Space at CABE, told The Landscaper
‘It’s vital we attract talented people to join the green space professions – they provide an essential service we all use. Funding cuts in this sector can have a disproportionate effect and it could take a decade to recover, especially when it comes to apprenticeships and passing on skills. Green space departments get a fraction of the funding other sectors receive.’
The survey shows the urgent need to address the skills shortfall to tackle climate change. Skills in planning, design and management needed to adapt green spaces to a changing climate are perceived by employers as a top priority for the future. However, these were exactly the skills employers felt their staff lacked most.
Labour shortages are particularly acute in landscape architecture, at 22.5 per cent, according to private sector green space professionals, while in the public sector horticulturalists, at 16.4 per cent, are seen as the most difficult to recruit.
Green space skills 2009: national employer survey findings presents the findings of research conducted by Pye-Tait Consulting between July and October 2009 among 1,075 green space organisations in the public, private and third sectors. It can be downloaded from www.cabe.org.uk/publications/green-space-skills-2009