The Project

idverde UK is helping unemployed Londoners gain the skills they need to return to work, with an innovative training scheme in partnership with Get Set UK, Wandsworth Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Candidates from Government Work Programme provider, Get Set UK, have embarked on a Level 1 Diploma in Land Based Studies with idverde, following a successful Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) application, made in partnership with Wandsworth Council. idverde is delivering the Accredited Education and Learning component as part of the Tooting Common Heritage Project.

Get Set UK is an employability provider that seeks to place unemployed candidates into work placement positions so that they can gain skills that will help them secure sustainable employment and move away from dependence on benefits. Learners worked with idverde staff on the company’s Wandsworth and Kensington and Chelsea grounds maintenance contracts recently to learn a few tricks of the trade prior to their course starting on 12 April 2016.

The team’s first task involve pruning epicormic and basal growth from trees at Tooting Common and Wandsworth Cemetery.

After candidates received a full induction and carried out the necessary site and task based risk assessments, candidates received their PPE. The team then went out with Wandsworth Arboriculture Manager, Pat Langley, and idverde Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, to tackle epicormic and basal growth on trees at Tooting Common and Wandsworth Cemetery. The team worked extremely well to compete the task, and received positive feedback from the idverde team and the Wandsworth client.

idverde Supervisor, Len Robinson, said: “It has been great working with the team from Get Set who have volunteered with idverde at Tooting Common and Wandsworth Cemetery. We are glad the candidates have been put forward to the Level 1 Diploma in Land Based Studies linked to the Heritage Lottery Accredited Training Course—good luck all!”

Wandsworth Parks Manager (Biodiversity), Kevin Freed, added: “The Get Set group are friendly, enthusiastic and willing to learn, asking relevant questions and comprehending answers. A variety of different tasks have been programmed to increase the knowledgebase, and I hope that this introduction into land based studies will be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all candidates.”

Following the successful completion of the tasks in Wandsworth, the Get Set teams moved on to Kensington and Chelsea’s Holland Park to work with idverde Head Gardener, Rob May, and the glasshouse team to learn about the process of preparing amenity bedding plants for display in parks and gardens.

The team thoroughly enjoyed the amenity horticulture experience and transplanted a grand total of 4,000 plugs into pots that will be grown on in the Holland Park Glasshouse until they are ready to be planted out and used in the Royal Borough’s bedding displays in late May.

idverde Head Gardener, Rob May, said: “It was a delight to work with such an enthusiastic team of volunteers. All were keen to learn the different elements that go into working in a nursery. They exceeded all expectations.”

idverde’s Assistant Ground Maintenance Manager in Kensington and Chelsea, Ben Martin, added: “The Get Set Land Based Studies Group have been of great assistance throughout their time at Holland Park. They worked well with our staff potting on summer bedding in the green house, managing to pot on a total of over 4,000 bedding plants, including pelargoniums, salvia and nicotiana. We very much appreciate the work they have done here.”

The Get Set UK team is now all set to start their Level 1 Diploma in Land Based Studies, beginning with reprofiling ditch lines on Tooting Common and constructing bait boxes at Tooting Common Pond. idverde looks forward to continuing to support them as they work towards their qualification.