"I commend the dedication and commitment shown by the participants in acquiring these valuable skills," said Minister of Public Works, Lt. Col. the Hon. David A. Burch, OBE (Mil), ED, JP, MP, following last week's arboriculture and horticulture training course at the Botanical Gardens.
The Skills Development Programme (SDP) organised the week-long course and equipped participants with valuable knowledge and practical expertise.
The programme witnessed the active involvement of various organisations, including the Department of Parks, the Corporation of Hamilton, WEDCO, Coral Beach, Youth, Culture and Sports, Port Royal, Ocean View, and Palm Grove Gardens.
The training sessions focused on diverse aspects of horticulture and arboriculture. The horticulture training segment encompassed propagation techniques, plant identification, soil science and testing, pest and disease management, cultivation methods, bed preparation, planting, pruning, and risk assessment.
In parallel, the arboriculture training segment covered the operation, repair, and maintenance of chainsaws, cross-cutting techniques, tree biology, risk assessment, tree felling, tree pruning, and first aid.
The course received overwhelming interest, with a substantial number of applications. However, a waiting list was implemented due to the limited capacity required for active participation.
The training was divided into four groups: Basic Horticulture, Basic Arboriculture, Advanced Horticulture, and Advanced Arboriculture. These divisions ensured participants could receive tailored instruction and guidance based on their experience level and interests.
Approximately 40 attendees were part of this initiative, with participants' ages ranging from 20 to 35 years old.
During the certificate distribution ceremony held last Friday, all participants received a certificate from Kingston Maurward College to acknowledge their successful completion of the training.
Additionally, the event recognised exceptional individuals with the "Most Outstanding" awards in various categories. The recipients of these special awards were as follows:
- Basic Horticulture for Skills Development Programme Participant: Kadre Jacobs
- Basic Arboriculture for Skills Development Programme Participant: Canaan Tanner
- Basic Horticulture: Desta Wilson (Corp. of Hamilton)
- Basic Arboriculture: To be announced
- Advanced Horticulture: Gladstone Butterfield (WEDCO)
- Advanced Arboriculture: Oscar Riley (Port Royal)
Moreover, one participant, Seth Pearman (Corporation of Hamilton), demonstrated exceptional skills in both Basic Arboriculture and Advanced Horticulture, earning the "Most Outstanding" award in both categories.
Minister Burch added: "Their efforts contribute to beautifying and maintaining our surroundings, preserving our natural heritage. Such training programmes play a crucial role in enhancing individuals' expertise and ensuring our environment's sustainability.
“The Government fully supports these initiatives and looks forward to witnessing the impact of these newly acquired skills in our community."
The training programme was conducted under the guidance of two esteemed trainers from Kingston Maurward College in the UK.
James Colville led the Basic and Advanced Arboriculture training, while Steph Addison, who made her second trip to provide training, spearheaded the Basic and Advanced Horticulture sessions.
The trainers were assisted by two individuals, Jimmy Harvey (Horticulture) and Tracy Wright (Arboriculture), from the Department of Parks.