Consultation draft

Skills to grow
Seven priorities to improve urban green space skills Skills to grow seeks views on the main skills challenges facing the green space sector and ways in which these can be tackled. The feedback will allow the partners in developing a skills strategy for the sector to refine and improve on this framework. It will also inform the development of a detailed action plan, prioritising actions and identifying who should deliver them. We are seeking responses to the document by 12 November 2008



Baroness Andrews

It’s no wonder people love parks. High quality parks and green spaces are crucial to our well-being. They invite physical activity and they provide a positive and welcoming environment for both physical and mental health. As well as the obvious benefit to the physical character of a place, parks are places where people meet, where they have fun, where they feel they belong. They can also boost the economic potential of tourism, leisure and cultural activities in the area and increase local property values. When combined with their role as essential green infrastructure as we adapt to a changing climate, the networks of parks and green spaces that enhance our towns and cities are a fundamental component of sustainable urban regeneration. Through the efforts of the green space sector, we have seen that it is possible to renew many parks by generating new sources of funding and involving the community. Satisfaction with the local park is on the increase. In 2000 just 44 per cent of urban local authorities believed the quality of their local parks to be stable or improving. By 2005 this had risen to 84 per cent. However, there is more to be done, especially in deprived areas, where quality of green space and satisfaction levels tend to be lower and where the impact of a park can make a major difference to quality of life. But quality parks need a highly motivated and skilled workforce – now and in the future. They not only need skilled horticulturalists and other green space specialists, but also skilled managers and leaders. We know that there are concerns about whether we have the workforce and the skills to take us into the future – and this could prevent the continued improvement

in the quality of our parks. This is why we asked CABE Space to consider this important issue together with the wider green space sector. Skills to grow is a significant document. It brings together, for the first time, the efforts of national green space partners and other interested organisations in tackling this issue. The major challenges and opportunities are highlighted, as are the many different initiatives and programmes that are going on in the green space sector. Opportunities for further action are put forward. What is clear is that this is a complex issue with potentially far reaching consequences for the future of green spaces. As such, Skills to grow represents a significant first step in a more ambitious process. Moving forward we will be working with CABE Space, and with green space experts, workforce experts and skills experts to ensure that the strategy succeeds in solving the problems that are identified. This consultation is important. We would like your views on the challenges, and what we need to do to better understand them. We want to know more about the current workforce profile, and the extent and nature of the recruitment and skills problem. We would also like your views on the solutions. We know of many local authorities and other green space sector employers that are doing a great job of managing their green spaces and solving these issues in their localities. CABE Space mentions some of their good work in the consultation document. We would like to hear more about other such examples. We need to learn from success, understand the factors behind 2

it, and spread best practice. In addition, actions are proposed in the document to take forward this agenda. We would welcome your input on which you think are the most valuable and of highest priority. At national level, there are many initiatives under way in government to address the skills needs of this country – and to tackle worklessness. This broader context provides opportunities to develop green space skills too. In CLG, we are putting in place new approaches to help local authorities improve and we need to explore the opportunities offered by the national improvement and efficiency strategy and the new regional improvement and efficiency partnership (RIEP) structures. Your knowledge and experience in response to this consultation is therefore a vital part of this process I am extremely grateful to the many national organisations that have been involved in the development of the strategy so far, showing their commitment to transforming the green space skills across England. I am particularly grateful to the CABE Space team that has led the work.

We will crack this problem if everyone works together. With a more highly skilled and motivated workforce, we will be able to continue to drive up the standards of our parks and green spaces and sustain the improvement into the future – and ensure that our heritage of parks and all the possibilities they offer will continue to grow and improve.

Baroness Andrews Parliamentary under secretary of state Communities and Local Government


Sharing a common purpose

The successful planning, design and management of urban parks and green spaces calls upon the skills of people working in a broad range of specialist occupations, from landscape architects to horticulturists. The green space sector also demands managerial expertise in areas such as advocacy and engagement, to instil the public with the motivation and confidence to use and enjoy public spaces and influence local authority decision making.

Skills to grow sets out an initial framework for improving the green space skills of our workforce. We know from the research and conversations that have informed this strategy that there is some fantastically innovative and exciting work going on in the sector. There is, however, no single organisation that represents the full range of occupations that play a role in delivering high quality urban green space. Even given that local government is the principal employer, there is much variation between local

authorities in the way that parks and green spaces are managed and also, therefore, in terms of type and scale of skills problem. These factors together make the job of getting to the heart of the issue a very considerable task indeed. People employed in the green space sector have low pay and status in comparison with other sectors. This is a key driver for the decline in green space skills, triggering a cycle of decline which leads to poor quality green spaces and low public expectations, as illustrated in figure 1.

Figure 1: The cycle of decline in green space skills

Workforce low pay and status Cycle of decline

Decline in workforce numbers and skills

Minimal funding for green spaces

Poor quality green space

Low public aspirations and expectations


Figure 2: Green space sector occupations by type and role

Planning Primary role
• Town planners

• Landscape architects

• Parks managers Landscape managers • Ecologists • Urban park rangers

• Horticulturalists • Arborists • Grounds maintenance staff • Voluntary and community sector groups

Secondary role

• Arborists • Landscape architects • Voluntary and community sector groups

• Arborists • Parks managers • Landscape Managers • Horticulturalists • Voluntary and community sector groups

• Arborists • Grounds maintenance staff • Horticulturalists • Landscape architects • Voluntary and community sector groups

Figure 3: Different types of open space, planning policy guidance 17 (PPG17) • Parks and gardens • Provision for children and teenagers • Natural and semi-natural urban green spaces • Allotments, community gardens and city farms • Green corridors • Cemeteries and churchyards • Outdoor sports facilities • Accessible countryside in urban fringe areas • Amenity green space • Civic spaces.

Urban green spaces range from parks to play spaces and from cemeteries to allotments. These spaces are vital in creating healthy, sustainable communities, providing recreational space, contact with nature and relief from the extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. The effective planning, design and management of such a diverse range of spaces relies on the skills of people employed in a similarly wide range of occupations, working in a variety of settings and fulfilling a mixture of functions. Local authorities and their contractors are the main employer of green space workers; therefore finding ways of building capacity

at local government level will be key to turning around the skills deficit. A significant number of green spaces are also managed directly by voluntary or community sector organisations, housing associations and increasingly in new developments, directly by the private sector. While this jigsaw of interlocking roles and responsibilities contributes to the vitality of the sector, it also provides significant challenges in coordination and advocacy.


Figure 4: A virtuous circle of urban green space skills

Workforce valued and rewarded Virtuous circle

Increase in workforce numbers and skills

Greater prioritisation of funding for green space

Higher quality green space

Higher public aspirations and expectations

To overcome these challenges, all those involved must recognise their role in the jigsaw. Each stakeholder needs to coordinate their efforts and work together for the common purpose of delivering high quality urban green spaces. The seven priorities outlined in this document will facilitate a joined up approach by developing synergies in the work being done within different occupational sectors.

The overall aim is to reverse the cycle of decline, creating a virtuous circle where careers in the urban green space sector are valued, supported and appropriately rewarded. The result will be excellent networks of green spaces at the heart of healthy, sustainable communities.

Consultation question 1: Have we adequately defined the urban green space sector? To take part in the consultation please visit

Consultation question 2: Which particular skills are most important and which are most lacking?


Strategic challenges and opportunities

The urban green space sector is not alone in needing to address a workforce skills gap. In December 2006 the Leitch Review of Skills identified a number of challenges facing the UK if we are to realise our aspiration of being recognised as an economy based on world-class skills by 2020. The government is committed to addressing these challenges over the coming years in partnership with individuals and employers and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills was established in April 2008 to promote increased investment in workforce skills by employers. The five strategic challenges outlined below have been identified by those working in the green space sector, and through previous workforce skills surveys. The 2006 National Audit Office report, Enhancing urban green space, identified that the skills shortage in the sector, particularly of management skills, is a significant barrier to the improvement of green space. A study of councils with Beacon status for the quality of their parks and green spaces, Parks need people, 2005, revealed some of the key skills challenges that even high performing councils are facing. The 2007 Academy of Sustainable Communities (ASC) report Mind the skills gap confirmed that the skills required to create sustainable communities are in short supply – including planners, landscape architects and the environmental sector – all of whose work impacts on the quality of green spaces.

A recent green space skills survey of 54 local authorities, by CABE Space, with Lantra and GreenSpace, has confirmed anecdotal evidence from those working in the sector about the severe shortage of both specialist and generic skills. It also highlights the limited funding for training and development within parks managing departments. A summary is available on the CABE website, However, more needs to be done to understand these issues in more detail. A more robust evidence base is essential if we are to successfully address these challenges. This will be an important part of the ongoing work.

Opportunities • Increased support from the Improvement and Development Agency, (I&DeA) for local authorities to build skills pathways and frameworks could help develop career structures. • Wider government initiatives on combating worklessness. • Development of new frameworks for green space apprenticeship schemes. • Changes in education including the new key stage 3 curriculum and 14-19 diplomas will provide better links to green space occupations. • Development of the qualification credit framework, (QCF) to be in place by 2009 will make different green space sector qualifications more transferable. • Building Schools for the Future and the primary capital programme provide opportunities to create better environments for learning outdoors and encourage young people to interact with urban green space issues. • Development of online sector skills frameworks for local environmental quality, land based industries and green spaces. • High public interest in gardening and garden design provides a starting point for fostering interest in green space careers. 7

The five challenges
1 Problems with recruitment and retention of staff ‘From the current position of labour shortages in landscape architecture and urban design in particular, labour shortages are forecast to increase significantly to over 90% by 2012. This is a reflection of the growing demand for design skills and the lack of increase in supply’ - Mind the Skills Gap, ASC, 2007 • Lack of interest in green space careers, particularly amongst young people. • Actual or perceived low status and wages in comparison with other sectors. • Lack of clear career path and opportunities to progress. • Forecasted labour shortages in the face of future demand.

2 Lack of workforce diversity and inclusion issues ‘There is virtually no ethnic diversity and the proportion of women working in the sector is only around 10%’ – Parks Need People. The skills shortage in parks: summary of research, 2005

• Limited public sector funding for urban green spaces limits skills development. Opportunities • The housing growth agenda and eco-towns provide a platform for highlighting the need for investment in green space skills.

4 Shortage of green space management and leadership skills ‘Training budgets are very small – on average around 0.94% of total staff budget. This compares with around 2.9% in the National Health Service and 5% in the Civil Service’ - Local authority green space skills survey, CABE Space, Lantra and GreenSpace, 2008 • Limited availability and variable quality of training opportunities. • Availability of funding for training. • Lack of interest in skills development in some cases. • Weaknesses in local authority financial management Opportunities • Growing recognition and support for leadership skills training across the sector such as the CABE Space Leaders programme and the work of the Academy for Sustainable Communities, (ASC). • From April 2009, comprehensive area assessment key lines of enquiry are likely to include an assessment of the skills to deliver local priorities, including green skills where relevant.

• Local authority parks management has an ageing and predominantly white workforce that is • The I&DeA ‘Get on local unrepresentative of the communities government’ campaign aims to they serve. get local authority employers to take a more proactive, • Landscape architecture and sustained and strategic planning professions have low ethnic approach to workplace minority representation. skills for life. Opportunities • Increasingly diverse roles in the green space sector offer varied and stimulating career options. • Greater community involvement in urban green spaces can be used to promote green space careers to a diverse community. • Increased awareness and requirements of equalities legislation. 3 Broader range of skills needed to meet new agendas • Responding to the effects of climate change makes investing in green space skills a higher priority. • Government targets for maintaining and enhancing opportunities for biodiversity are a driver of green skills. • hrough the government’s T voluntary skills pledge, employers have an incentive to encourage and support their employees in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills and working towards higher education qualifications.

‘38% of local authority park managers reported a lack of skills in fundraising • ncreasing requirements from I and 32% a lack of skills in marketing the Audit Commission for and publicity as affecting service local authorities to act more delivery’ – Local authority green space strategically in building a skills survey, CABE Space, Lantra and workforce that can meet GreenSpace, 2008 future challenges. • New skills needed for working in partnership with other organisations and with the community in line with the new policy context for local government.

• n response to Further I education: raising skills, improving life chances (DfES, 2006), the Learning and Skills Council is supporting skills development at a regional level.


5 Insufficient joined up working across the sector ‘Often, parks’ staff are not entirely aware of how they fit into the council’s management structure and it is not always apparent where responsibility lies’ - Parks Need People. The skills shortage in parks: summary of research, 2005 • Need for further coordination at national and local levels. • No consistency in workforce structures that have responsibility for urban green spaces. • Lack of understanding across occupational sectors of roles and responsibilities in areas such as design and management. Opportunities • The new national improvement and efficiency strategy provides a framework for local authorities and their partners to share learning and good practice and encourages joined up working at the local government level. • The new set of national indicators under the performance framework for local authorities and their partnerships includes a range of indicators that will require joined-up working between parks and other services such as NI5;

satisfaction with local area and from 2009, NI 199: children and young people’s satisfaction with parks and play areas. • The ASC promotes and supports the cross-cutting skills needed to create and maintain sustainable communities including in the green space sector. • Growing recognition and funding for the wide-ranging benefits of green space improvement projects, for example as a means of increasing levels of physical activity, such as the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers’ green gyms. • Fair Play, the government’s national play strategy, includes measures to improve joined-up working between play, planning, green space and highways professionals. • The Department of Health’s Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy includes measures to improve joined up working between planning and public health. • Green space sector strategic forums, such as the London Green Skills Group and regional parks benchmarking groups, can help authorities join forces to tackle skills challenges.

Consultation question 3: What do you see as the fundamental problem(s) in the green space workforce? (And what do you think are the underlying causes?) To take part in the consultation please visit

Consultation question 4: Have we included all the key challenges and opportunities facing the urban green space sector?


Seven priorities for improving green space skills

Achieving the outcomes identified in this strategy will require smart thinking, joined-up working and a clear set of priorities. We have identified seven strategic priorities that will begin to create the conditions for an effective green space sector. For each priority, we have outlined a series of actions to be delivered by a range of organisations. The actions are informed by national policy and initiatives; industry standards and codes of practice; initiatives from professional institutes and trade associations; and funding for skills development.

We propose three phases of action, starting in 2008 and ending in 2020. The actions outlined here, which cover phases 1 and 2, will be reviewed at the end of the first year, when a more detailed action plan will be created for ongoing monitoring and review. Phase 3 actions will be developed as a forward strategy once a clearer picture emerges from the development of the evidence base and the impact of actions in the initial phases are understood.

Figure 5: Three phases of action Sharing a common purpose – coordinating the sector and delivering early wins Build capacity – increasing workforce and growing skills Embed skills – integrating skills across the sector and beyond

Phase 1: 2008-09 Phase 2: 2009-11 Phase 3: 2011-20

Consultation question 5: Are the outcomes that we’ve identified the right ones? To take part in the consultation please visit

Consultation question 6: Have we included all the right priorities and actions?


Increase awareness of the sector and opportunities it offers
Outcomes by 2011 • Improved access to good careers information and advice for career changers as well as young people. • Better availability and accessibility of quality work experience. • Increased use of green space as a focus for learning in schools. Actions in year one (2008/09) • Work with I&DeA to promote opportunities for investing in green space skills to local government (CABE Space). • Review the content and presentation of information on the existing Lantra careers websites, as part of wider scheduled renewal of the sites (Lantra). • Ensure that the ‘AskWhatIf’ careers website fully reflects the role of green space professionals in developing sustainable communities (ASC). • Develop new careers materials and campaigns to address gaps (Landscape Institute and RHS). • Ensure all careers materials and web sites produced by national partners contain consistent messages and signpost each other (national partners’ group). • Use the learning outside the classroom manifesto and school grounds initiatives to promote green space careers (CABE Space, with national partners). Indicative actions in year two and three (2009 – 2011)


• Develop guidance and frameworks to support employers wishing to offer structured work experience placements (CABE Space, ASC and Lantra). • Pilot at least one demonstration visit to raise awareness of careers advisors (CABE Space). • Consider new technologies and forms of communication, such as social networking websites and YouTube, as ways of raising awareness of the sector (CABE Space).

Case study: Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council The parks and open spaces team at Oldham council look after 15,000 hectares of green space. In 1995, they began a major programme of refurbishing Oldham’s parks in partnership with the local community. Recognising the need to attract younger employees into the parks service and develop a skilled workforce that reflects the area’s ethnic diversity, the team introduced a modern apprenticeships scheme. In the last 10 years, the parks team has taken on 20 modern apprentices from the local area. Most of these apprentices are still employed by the council, with just four having moved on to other roles. The team works hard to raise the profile of careers within the parks service, especially amongst the Asian community where horticulture isn’t seen as an obvious career choice. The parks service has held open days and team members have visited local schools and mosques to talk about careers in parks and open spaces. These recruitment initiatives are starting to bear fruit, with an increase in applications from ethnic minority candidates for the 2008 programme. A large proportion of the security workers operating within the parks are from Asian and Afro-Caribbean backgrounds helping the parks management service become more representative of the local community. This has been achieved through a partnership with a local security company. 11

Improve entry routes and career paths in sector occupations
Outcomes by 2011 • Information about entry routes into the sector, including information about funding, is clear and easily accessible. • Monitoring of entry into sector occupations is in place. • The sector has a clear career structure that encourages progression by those already in the industry as well as people entering the industry with transferable skills from previous employment. Actions in year one (2008/09) • Roll out the GreenSKILL learning passport standard for recording career development and achievement, with wide adoption across the sector (Lantra and GreenSpace). • Use scheduled review of Lantra apprenticeship frameworks to ensure increased flexibility in meeting the current and future needs of the sector (Lantra). Indicative actions in year two and three (2009 – 2011)


• Identify and champion approaches that are proving successful in attracting and engaging a greater diversity of entrants to the industry (Lantra, Landex, CABE Space, Natural England). • Publish online inspiring case studies of individuals illustrating the different routes and motivations of those entering the industry, for use in careers and course information (GreenSpace, LI, RHS). • Promote the use of national occupational standards of relevance to the sector and developing guidance on their use, drawing on the work of other sector skills councils where appropriate (Lantra and GreenSpace).

Case study: Greencorps Chicago The training of green space workers is a key component of the City of Chicago’s plan to be ‘the most environmentally friendly city in the world’. Each spring, around 40 Chicago residents join the Greencorps Chicago training programme to learn new skills in landscaping and horticulture. During the nine-month course, participants get hands-on experience in a variety of industry roles while providing services to community garden and green space projects throughout the city. Greencorps trainees receive academic and practical training in areas including horticulture, carpentry and equipment operation, as well as specialist topics such as the remediation of contaminated land. Participants earn marketable certifications, develop job readiness and acquire skills in project management, team working and community outreach. Trainees also complete internships within the green industry, spending time working in companies that offer services such as landscaping and environmental remediation. This professional experience is valuable preparation for future employment in the green industry. Established in 1994, Greencorps is run by the City of Chicago Department of Environment in partnership with landscape architects WRD Environmental. First-time job seekers make up a large proportion of trainees. In 2008, Greencorps had more than 250 graduates with more than three quarters in employment. 12

Improve the availability and quality of training, including continuing professional development
Outcomes by 2011 • The sector’s skills requirements and skill gaps have been mapped. • A supporting framework that recognises accredited continuing professional development (CPD) is in place. • Improved awareness of and access to high quality training which addresses the needs of individuals as well as employers. Actions in year one (2008/09) • Ensure Lantra’s Coursefinder listings for urban green space related courses are comprehensive and kept up to date (Lantra). • Encourage sign up across the sector to the national employer skills pledge and the local government Get On award (Lantra, with CABE Space and (I&DeA). • Ensure Train to Gain advisors are well briefed on the needs of the sector and that providers are able to support sector employers in addressing skills needs (Lantra, working with GreenSpace). • Develop relationships, messages and guidance to champion the national expansion of apprenticeship programmes for the urban green space sector, across public and private employment (Lantra, with employers). Indicative actions in year two and three (2009 – 2011)


• Explore the feasibility of establishing a graduate recruitment and development programme for urban green space (CABE Space, working with I&DeA). • Ensure that the sector is playing its role in supporting staff with skills for life needs (Lantra, drawing on knowledge of the LSC, Train to Gain and Unionlearn). • Explore the potential of mobile learning to improve effectiveness of training and development (Lantra, CABE Space). • Explore the potential for a virtual national skills academy for green space skills, offering accredited training and skills development (Lantra, ASC and CABE Space).

Case study: London Borough of Lewisham The London Borough of Lewisham has been working with Glendale Grounds Management since 2000, when the green services company was awarded a 10-year contract to manage the area’s 45 parks. Glendale is responsible for the full range of parks services in Lewisham, including the introduction of park keepers at key parks, security, event management and community engagement through park user groups. The innovative contract features performance-related payment and included a significant upfront investment from Glendale, with £1.5 million being spent in the first three years. Lewisham used this investment to secure additional funding from the council and other sources including the Heritage Lottery Fund, EU Life Environment funding, and the Football Foundation. In 2008, the value of the parks management contract is around £3 million. Regular meetings enable the Lewisham team to closely monitor the contractor’s performance. Glendale and Lewisham also work together to address strategic issues including developing a skilled workforce and how to retain skilled workers within the parks service. Most of the staff working in Lewisham’s parks are recruited from the local community, through advertisements in local job centres, newspapers and magazines. Some employees are recruited from Envirowork Lewisham, a local charity that trains unemployed people in grounds maintenance and other green space skills. Others join the company through a job trial scheme, where organisations including Trees for Cities and Groundwork refer individuals for a six-week placement with the possibility of permanent employment. Glendale also takes on a number of apprentices each year. All Glendale employees complete a skills survey which identifies opportunities for skills development and career progression. The company offers a range of internal training programmes, some of which are delivered by managers who have received training accreditation from Lantra Awards and the National Proficiency Tests Council. Around 10 employees each year complete NVQ level 2 courses in grounds maintenance through the Train2Gain initiative. 13

Improve management and leadership skills
Outcomes by 2011 • Year-on-year increases in the number of green space managers who have undertaken management training. • Learning opportunities are tailored to the needs of green space managers. • Increased awareness of the changing role of green space managers and leaders and the importance of being able to respond to new challenges. • Opportunities for green space professionals to learn alongside people employed in other sectors. Actions in year one (2008/09) • Ensure that the emerging competence framework and GreenSKILL encourage and recognise the development of general management and leadership skills (Lantra, GreenSpace). • Deliver CABE Space leaders programme and identify funders for delivery of green space leadership training as a legacy of the leaders’ programme, at rates the sector can afford (led by CABE Space). Indicative actions in year two and three (2009 – 2011)


• Ensure links are made with national capacity building programmes to achieve government aspirations for community involvement in decision making (CLG). • Develop online communities of practice to support professional development.

Case study: Leeds City Council Facing challenges with recruitment, retention and skill levels, Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service established a comprehensive employee development programme. A key aspect of this programme is investing in the managers of the future, to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the parks service workforce. Each year, several junior to mid-level managers from the parks and countryside service attend the CABE Space leaders programme, which delivers three days of intensive learning and development. Attendees learn new skills and establish valuable connections with other managers in the green space sector. High-performing employees are also recognised and rewarded through an annual awards scheme, where individuals and teams are nominated for awards by their colleagues. Other education and training initiatives run by the service include apprenticeships and opportunities for employees to study for BTEC diplomas and foundation degrees. The parks and countryside service is working with Park Lane College and Leeds Metropolitan University to develop a foundation degree in parks management, for launch in 2009. The wide range of learning and skills development opportunities on offer give employees a clear path of progression within the service and contribute to high levels of staff satisfaction, motivation and attendance. 14

Increase the sector’s overall investment in skills
Outcomes by 2011 • Increased investment in skills by sector employers. • Skills development supported by sufficient funding. Actions in year one (2008/09) • Replicate existing green space benchmarking initiatives, such as the London Green Skills Group, in regions not currently covered and extend their use to compare current spend on training and its effectiveness (GreenSpace). • Develop a better understanding of how the sector uses funding for training (CABE Space, working with LGA/I&DeA and Lantra). • Work with the Learning and Skills Council and brokerage service to tailor Train to Gain publicity and support for green space skills employers. Indicative actions in year two and three (2009 – 2011)


• Ensure local authority workforce development plans include green space skills (LGA/I&DeA). • Consider sponsoring I&DeA Get On award for achievements by green space learners.

Case study: Hampshire County Council Hampshire County Council has a strong reputation for environmental planning and landscape architecture. While many councils have largely outsourced professional design services, Hampshire has retained highly skilled and multi-disciplinary teams of in-house professionals. Hampshire’s property services division has a service level agreement with all of the 528 schools within the county, covering property management, design and project implementation. A significant advantage of the in-house approach is that the Hampshire staff are able to closely monitor quality standards, visiting project sites on a frequent basis. Hampshire’s consistently high standards in design quality and contract management have been recognised with a number of awards including a Landscape Institute Award in 2007 and two regional awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2008. Having these professional skills embedded within the council puts Hampshire’s landscape architects in a good position to spot opportunities across the organisation and get ideas off the ground. It also makes it easier to draw in funding from different sources across the organisation. For example, over recent years the team has pooled together funding from central government and various departments within the council to provide safer access routes to schools and around school sites. 15

Build capacity for joined-up thinking and working
Outcomes by 2011 • Greater use of multi-skilled project teams in the delivery of green spaces. • More opportunities for cross-sector communication and learning. • Development of regional and, where appropriate, local versions of this strategy. Actions in year one (2008/09) • Establish links and joint working agreements with complementary skills development initiatives, for example the ASC’s brownfield skills strategy, Encams local environment skills and the LGA/I&DeA local government workforce strategy. • Using the experience of the London Green Skills group, provide encouragement and guidance for the creation of further regional groups (Lantra or GreenSpace). • Develop guidance on how to consider skills needs in green space strategies, including a template with questions to be addressed (CABE Space). • Deliver second round of CABE Space design scholarships (CABE Space). Indicative actions in year two and three (2009 – 2011)


• Conduct research to understand how the structure of green space services within local authorities affects skills and the capacity for joined-up working, and produce recommendations on good practice (CABE Space).

Case study: London Green Spaces Skills Group Setting up a London Parks and Green Spaces Forum was one of the recommendations of a 2001 Greater London Authority report on the capital’s green spaces. The forum has a number of specialist subgroups, one of which focuses on green space skills. The Green Spaces Skills Group has 28 member organisations and is funded by the London Development Agency, Lantra, Capel Manor College and the Learning and Skills Council. Members meet formally every few months, but networking takes place year round. One of the group’s main activities is a regular Londonwide survey of land-based skills needs and delivery. It has also published a number of reports which have informed investment and strategy decisions within the sector. By working together, the group’s members have made a significant impact on the funding of green skills issues in London. For example, the group’s recommendations on the skills needs of the green space and land-based sector were adopted by the London Skills and Employment Board in its London’s Future report, published in July 2008. The group has also facilitated the introduction of apprenticeship schemes in horticulture, landscaping and arboriculture for the London region and has been involved in the successful reintroduction of the Royal Parks apprenticeship scheme. 16

Develop and maintain a strong evidence base


It is clear that more needs to be done to build the evidence base around skills shortages in local authorities and in the private and voluntary sectors. Lantra, GreenSpace and CABE Space have begun to fill the evidence gap through initial research and a baseline survey of local authorities. Ongoing surveys and research will be used to strengthen and refine the strategic actions outlined in this document.

Outcomes by 2011 • Availability of data on the extent and details of the workforce issues and skills shortage in the urban green space sector. • Data is used effectively to prioritise, explain and emphasise the scale of actions contained in the strategy and to measure progress in delivery.

Actions in year one (2008/09) • Undertake a survey of local authority parks and urban green space services to establish baseline data (Lantra/CABE Space/GreenSpace). • Identify opportunities to embed the collection and analysis of skills and employment data within existing mechanisms such as the Green Flag application process (Civic Trust, GreenSpace, Lantra, CABE Space). • Use CABE’s green space research to identify and monitor skills across England (CABE Space).

Indicative actions in year two and three (2009 – 2011) • Strengthen links with work being undertaken by Communities and Local Government (CLG) to develop a geographic information system map of data relating to parks (CLG). • Carry out research into comparative levels of pay and whether this affects career choices across the green space sector.

Consultation question 7: What action(s) do you think will have highest impact? To take part in the consultation please visit

Consultation question 8: What else do we need to do to better understand the skills issues?


National partners
The following organisations have helped develop this strategy and will continue to support its delivery. Academy for Sustainable Communities CABE Space The Civic Trust Communities and Local Government English Heritage Encams GreenSpace Groundwork UK I&DeA ISPAL Landscape Institute Landex Lantra Local Government Association Natural England Royal Horticultural Society

Other organisations and networks consulted so far
Department of Health, Programmes and Delivery: Built environment cross government obesity unit English Partnerships (Brownfield skills strategy) www.englishpartnerships. Green Space Careers Marketing Initiative – ‘GROW’ Learning and Skills Council London Green Skills Group Royal Parks Agency Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Consultation question 9: What other organisations, networks and initiatives should be involved? To take part in the consultation please visit

Consultation question 10: Do you know of any other examples of local authorities or other employers that are tackling these issues successfully?


References and more information
• Cultivating skills in historic and botanic gardens, English Heritage, 2006 • Enhancing urban green space, National Audit Office, 2006 • Fair play: a consultation on the play strategy, Department for Children, Schools and Families • Further education: raising skills, improving life chances, Department for Education and Skills 2006 • Healthy weight, healthy lives: a cross government strategy for England, Department of Health, 2008 • Leitch review of skills, HM Treasury 2006 • Local authority green space skills survey. Summary of findings. CABE Space, Lantra and GreenSpace, 2008 • Mind the skills gap, Academy for Sustainable Communities 2007 • Parks need people. the skills shortage in parks: a summary of research, GreenSpace, CABE Space et al, 2005 • Planning policy guidance 17: planning for open space, sport and recreation, Communities and Local Government • Tomorrow’s people. building a local government workforce for the future, Audit Commission, 2008 For more information on green space skills please visit 19

Parks and green spaces are vital components of the green infrastructure needed in sustainable towns and cities. The successful planning, design and management of these spaces requires a broad range of skills and occupations, from landscape architects to horticulturalists. However, evidence shows both a decline in the numbers entering these occupations and a lack of skills within the sector. CABE has been working with national partners to understand the skills challenges and opportunities and to develop a framework that addresses them. Skills to grow outlines these and sets out the strategic priorities that will begin to create the conditions for an effective green space sector. It is aimed at all those involved in the green space sector and relevant skills and educational organisations. We are seeking responses to the document by 12 November 2008 To take part in the consultation visit

CABE is the government’s advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. As a public body, we encourage policymakers to create places that work for people. We help local planners apply national design policy and advise developers and architects, persuading them to put people’s needs first. We show public sector clients how to commission projects that meet the needs of their users. And we seek to inspire the public to demand more from their buildings and spaces. Advising, influencing and inspiring, we work to create well-designed, welcoming places. Published in 2008 by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment Graphic design by Draught Associates. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, copied or transmitted without the prior written consent of the publisher except that the material may be photocopied for non-commercial purposes without permission from the publisher. This document is available in alternative formats on request from the publisher. Cover image: Mischa Haller ©


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful