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It was a day of celebration at Thrive as the first cohort of Diploma students were awarded their certificates of achievement at Beech Hill.

The award (DipSTH, non-OFQUAL regulated) is the most wide-ranging curriculum in the STH sector available in the UK and provides students with the skills and knowledge to deliver excellence in nature-based interventions in the UK.

Ten students graduated at the ceremony and among them was Katie Andrews from Streatley, who was also the proud recipient of the John Weightman Prize for Excellence and said:

“I loved studying for the diploma, I wanted a complete career change, but didn’t have any experience in STH. This course has taught me so much and I now have a job at a therapeutic garden, it’s been such an exciting year and I love what I do.”

Course member

Horticultural researcher and retired professor at Loughborough University, Dr Joe Sempik was an honorary guest and explained that the graduating students were now among the highest qualified people in the UK to practice STH.

“Thrive has always produced first class training and is recognised as having a gold standard that everyone looks up to and recognises. Today is a huge achievement, not just for the students graduating but for the horticultural sector.”

Dr Joe Sempik

Manager of Thrive’s Education and Training, Damien Newman presided over the ceremony and leads the development and teaching of the diploma. He wished the students well in their journey and praised the generosity of the family of John Weightman, who was a keen gardener: “He was an incredible man whose family has generously supported three bursary places for diploma students. Support, financial or otherwise is important and I am sure your journey will continue to be supported by those working in horticultural therapy and your family and friends.”

John Weightman’s daughter, Eleanor and husband David attended the event and met with students and training staff. Two Thrive ambassadors; client gardener, Carly Field and volunteer of five years, Hilary Manisty presented the students with mementoes, wooden boxes with inspirational phrases and ceramic leaves that had been made and painted by client gardeners at Beech Hill. Carly said she was thrilled to help with the award ceremony: “It was really exciting, I enjoyed handing the students the leaves we’d made. They told me they were very special and they would always treasure them.”

Thrive’s new diploma has accreditation provided by the Open College Network and the course runs over two years as a Higher Education level Diploma with a blend of self-guided learning, lectures, workshops, tutorials and assessed course work.

If you would like to know more about the Diploma in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture please go to www.thrive.org.uk/get-training or click here

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John Weightman Bursary students Van Quan & Linda McKeown and Eleanor Holloway (centre)