New Sustainable Pest Control course launched

Company: GCA
  • Peter Burks, GCA Chief Executive

Garden centre staff can now gain knowledge to help customers to deter and combat pests in a more natural, sustainable way via the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) GROW (Garden Retail Online Workshops) e-Learning platform (November 2023).

The organisation has launched its new Sustainable Pest Control course because many gardeners, conscious of their impact on the environment, are choosing more environmentally friendly methods of pest prevention.

Antony Snow, GROW’s Instructional Designer, explains: “Following on from the recent, successful launch of Sustainable Disease Control, I’m thrilled to have added Sustainable Pest Control to our extensive course catalogue. It has been written to provide our members’ employees with the knowledge to help their customers to minimise the chance of a pest outbreak through the careful planning of where to plant and good plant husbandry.

“Many gardeners choose to use synthetic controls to combat pests because they are effective, convenient and easy to use.

“However, as more and more customers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact they are having on the environment, many are choosing to adopt a more natural and sustainable approach to control the pests in their garden.”

GROW courses cover a wide range of vital topics to help employees gain confidence and knowledge about products and services, so they can effectively assist any customers and colleagues who need help.

GCA Chief Executive, Peter Burks says: “We are fortunate that many garden centre customers are actively pursuing more sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to garden, so it’s very important we help staff to be able to advise them on successful ways of gardening without the use of synthetic chemicals.”

GROW courses are available to all GCA garden centre members and their teams, and also those at Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) garden centres.

Peter continues: “GROW is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, so people can log-in when it’s convenient for them. It’s a cost-effective way of providing staff training and personal development that enhances customer experience.

“Members have said it gives their staff confidence, as well as being an effective and essential training tool for them too.”

GROW started as an initial idea, devised during a strategy meeting of the GCA’s executive committee, to bring education and training tailored to individuals employed in the garden centre industry.

It’s a self-funding and non-profit facility with any surpluses being reinvested into its ongoing development and improvement. Currently there are more than 100 courses and 12,000 plus users throughout the UK.

These courses include a wide range of topics that cover horticulture, customer service, food safety, regulated sales and health and safety.

All the courses have been written by experts in their field and are designed to apply to a garden centre environment, with the content for the horticultural courses drawing on the vast experience of members within the GCA.

Peter concludes: “Anyone who would like more information about GROW and the courses we offer, please get in touch with either Antony or myself. We’ve details on our website too and a dedicated email for people to contact us through as well:”

The GROW e-Learning facility is available to GCA member garden centres, as well as to HTA garden centre members too. The new course is accessible immediately to existing subscribers.

For further information, please visit

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