Salad veg supplier opens a new education centre to inspire and train the next generation of growers

Thanet Earth has opened a new education centre developed to inspire and train the next generation of UK salad and vegetable growers

The new education centre aims to inspire and train the next generation of UK salad and vegetable growers

Kent glasshouse grower Thanet Earth has unveiled a new education centre at Hadlow College in Tonbridge, Kent, designed to bring in a new generation of technical greenhouse specialists.

Named the ‘Centre of Excellence’ and based at Hadlow’s state-of-the-art glasshouse, horticultural students will benefit from working directly with Thanet Earth.

As the UK’s largest glasshouse salad supplier, Thanet Earth said it aims to develop students’ skills and grow tomatoes in a commercial crop environment.

It will connect the higher education institute with the horticulture sector and promises to protect the future of UK-grown fresh produce.

The partnership will also deliver benefits such as funding for specialist teaching staff, industry visits, bespoke seminars and career mentoring.

Addressing food security concerns

It comes as the UK Food Security Index revealed that only 17 per cent of fruit and 55 per cent of vegetables are grown domestically in the UK.

Technical director at Thanet Earth, Rob James, said: “Food security in the UK depends on inspiring the next generation of talent into our industry.

“We rely on skilled and passionate people to drive innovation and help to make delicious and nutritious UK-grown fresh produce available in your local food stores.

“There are incredible careers available across the fresh produce supply chain. Collaboration between education and industry is critical to changing perceptions of the sector and ensuring young people develop relevant, practical, and employable skills.”

Head of horticulture at Hadlow College, Alan Harvey, added: “This partnership offers our students a unique education experience. The close relationship between our college and the commercial horticultural sector means our students can experience the latest commercial growing techniques in our cutting-edge glasshouse facilities.

“Not only does this provide depth and enrichment to their education, but it will also enable our students to graduate with skills and experience that will be very attractive to employers.”