Our ethos is that people grow plants, and it is the collective teams here at Binsted, Walberton and Fleurie Nurseries who are responsible for the growth and success of our businesses. Staff receive a full induction and go through a probationary period during which newly acquired skills are assessed and recorded. Our appraisal process highlights training requirements and progression opportunities, and many of our staff undertake day courses and vocational qualifications. Through qualifications and our personal development process, staff have the opportunity to progress throughout Tristram Plants or the Farplants Group, or in some cases go on to further themselves in the wider horticulture industry.

We have experts with skills as diverse as tractor and forklift truck driving; plant breeding; auditing; abrasive wheels and welding; staff training; grafting and rooting cuttings; and specialists in Crop Protection. We actively support staff development through attendance at external workshops, trade shows, nursery and supplier visits, and cross-business internal and external training events.

We are members of the West Sussex Growers Association and professional bodies such as the IPPS and HTA, all of which offer development and training opportunities from time to time. Over the years, for example, staff in our businesses have successfully applied for the IPPS Six Pack Award, which gives those who are new to the industry a chance to attend the IPPS European Region Annual conference and experience all that it has to offer.

We have close links with Grow Careers, and in 2021 engaged for the first time with Pershore’s Apprenticeship scheme to develop budding horticulturalists and encourage people into our rewarding industry. We also offer work experience to students from St. Philip Howard Catholic School, as part of their Enrichment Programme. This enables students to spend time in local businesses learning new skills and broadening their interests.

Since 2014 Tristram Plants have offered Spring and Summer Placements, aimed at providing hands on, practical experience to those intending to develop a long-term career in commercial horticulture; ideal for current or recent students of production horticulture. Areas of learning range from hands-on practical work to insights into management activities. When placements are available they are advertised on our Vacancies page, but if not, we are still happy to discuss opportunities to fit in part time around horticultural studies. Over the years Tristram Plants has hosted horticulture students on placements, scholarships and Diplomas from colleges and institutes around the world, for example the UK, France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Cyprus and Australia. These opportunities have arisen not only through our own placement scheme, but also through the EU Erasmus+ Programme, as part of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Diploma in Horticulture, and through YoungHort. Please contact camilla@walbertonnursery.co.uk if you have an opportunity you would like to discuss.

Aside from the varied opportunities to enter into and develop within our industry described above, most of our new recruits come direct from the local community, including many who originally came from the EU and beyond, all now having made West Sussex their home.