PEOPLE returning to work, looking to branch out in a new direction and who have a passion for gardening are offered an opportunity in Wiltshire.

The WFGA, a charity established in 1899, is looking for new recruits to its Work and Retrain As A Gardener Scheme (WRAGS).

The 12-month scheme enables trainees to gain hands-on, practical gardening skills and experience of working in a carefully sourced, working garden, under the guidance of a head gardener or experienced garden owner.

Emma Moffat, the Hampshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire regional co-ordinator, said: “The scheme is aimed at trainees who may be looking for a career change or who want to return to the workplace after time out for family and who are thinking about working in horticulture.

It provides a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience as you are in the garden for a year and therefore see it through each season from sowing seeds to raking leaves. You also discover how hardy you are on a freezing February morning, or a drizzly December day. But there are compensations - when the weather is beautiful you are the envy of everyone stuck in an office.”

The WFGA has more than 100 training gardens throughout the UK which are a mixture of public and private gardens, gardens that open under the National Gardens Scheme, gardens under restoration and even royal gardens.

The commitment is 15 hours a week for which a training allowance of £70 is paid by the garden owner. Trainees have to be members of the WFGA.  For more information contact the WFGA on 01285 658339, email or visit