Norwich City College’s new initiative has been using horticulture to grow student’s prospects.
The unique course is called ‘horticulture enterprise’ and began at the end of last year. Students who enrol get the opportunity to participate in all of the activities that would take place in a nursery, while developing key work-related skills.
While the students get to practice seed sowing and planting, they are also encouraged to work on their numeracy and literacy by stocktaking, measuring displays, and tracking the weather. All of this happens in the on-site green-house and is designed to prepare students for a future beyond college.
This week, pupils on the course have been given the chance contribute to Norwich in Bloom.
Miles Kristian is one of the students on the course, and is particularly excited about the opportunity:
“We have been getting to work on planting for Norwich in Bloom, and I’ve enjoyed getting out of class and working with other people the most.”
The opportunity has enabled the students to get out into the local community, contributing to five major locations across the city:
– Castle Gardens
– Castle Mall
– The Assembly House
– Norwich Cathedral
– St. Stephens Church
Horticulture has been known to have many benefits, both physically and mentally. The Norfolk Horticultural Society are champions of this message, believing that there are three main benefits to the trade:
1. “Being outside can be refreshing and calming for the mind”
2. “It can be very physically demanding, which is great exercise that almost anybody can do”
3. “It’s social and is a great way to meet others”
However, for these students, the list of benefits runs much longer. The course is specifically designed for pupils with disabilities, learning difficulties, or who have been in supported learning for over a year. For course leader John Attoe, horticulture is beneficial specifically for these students because it gives them more freedom and prepares them for the world of work.
“When they’re working in the green-house they can talk and interact in a way that they just can’t in the classroom. They have a lot more freedom here and it’s great for those that struggle to concentrate in a classroom environment.”
“While they might not go into a career in gardening, they will grow in confidence, become better at communicating and work in a team better.”
Terry Bane is the Anglia Ambassador for the Norfolk County Council group ‘Friends of Norwich in Bloom’. Bane has been working with Attoe to get the students working on the Bloom and is particularly happy with the student’s progress.
“It is important that young people living with disabilities get the opportunity to flourish. Every single student this week has worked extremely hard and I think the course has really had an impact.”
Some of the students have even managed to secure work placements as a result of their work:
“I now have a work placement at Blickling Hall that means I can use what I’ve learnt to get even more experience.”- Hannah Fischer
The hard work that the students have put in certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed. Just three days ago the college tweeted about the Lord Mayor of Norwich coming to visit the students who “keep Norwich blooming.”
The contribution that the budding cultivators have made will be judged at the end of July, alongside the rest of Anglia’s bloom displays. In the meantime, the enterprise pupils look forward to creating a horticultural display for the prestigious Royal Norfolk Show.
For more, watch the video report below.
The hard work that the students have put in over the last week hasn’t gone unnoticed. Just three days ago the college tweeted about the Lord Mayor of Norwich coming to visit the students who “keep Norwich blooming”.
Camera Assistant: @francesbutler28