New GCA GROW food safety and health & safety courses launched

Company: GCA
  • Antony Snow, Instructional Designer for GROW at the GCA

The Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Garden Retail Online Workshops (GROW) e-Learning platform has introduced five new compliance-based e-Learning courses covering food safety and health & safety (July 2023).

This launch is the first of three planned releases throughout 2023, which will see a total of sixteen e-Learning courses covering various food safety and health and safety topics added to GROW.

The GCA’s Instructional Designer for GROW, Antony Snow, says: “We are excited to be working on this with Opus Safety – one of the UK’s leading providers of safety training.

“The safety of our members’ employees and their customers is essential, and these courses, which have been tailored specifically for the garden centre industry, will provide comprehensive safety training that will enable employees to enhance their skills, improve their safety practices, and help to create a safe working environment.”

The new courses are as follows:


Food Safety

  1. Food Hygiene Essentials
  2. Allergen Awareness


Health & Safety

  1. Legionella Awareness
  2. COSHH Awareness
  3. Working at Height

The GCA’s GROW modules cover a range of valuable topics to help employees gain knowledge and confidence in products and services to provide customers with the best service and advice.

Peter Burks, GCA Chief Executive, explains: “We are always working on developing GROW and increasing our offering to cover topics our members need. GROW is designed to help improve an individual’s knowledge so they can assist others in the workplace, whether colleagues or customers. Many members have told us how effective it is in giving their staff confidence while providing essential education and training for them too.

“It’s available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, so personnel can use it when it suits them. It’s a cost-effective way of delivering training and personal development, which enhances the customer experience when visiting a garden centre, and this benefits everyone.”

GROW started as an initial idea, thought up 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 is a self-funding and non-profit making facility with any surpluses being reinvested into the ongoing development and improvement of GCA GROW. Currently there are 110 modules and more than 12,000 users throughout the UK.

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

The accredited food safety and health and safety topics are categorised as either level one or two.

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

Peter adds: “Garden centres interested in signing up to GROW can find out more on our website or email”

The new courses are available immediately to existing subscribers and the GROW e-Learning facility is available to GCA member garden centres, as well as to Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) garden centre members too.

For further information, please visit

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