As a consequence of recent global events, the Merlin Trust has been evaluating different ways to support young horticulturists above and beyond travel grants. Internships are one approach that we are keen to support as they allow individuals to experience time working in different environments or with different plant collections that might not be possible in your current place of work or study.
What is an internship?
Internships take many forms but are essentially a period of work experience typically undertaken to gain certain skills or try a new work place or sector. Internships can last any time from a week to several months, with shorter periods simply called work experience. The intern may be treated as a member of staff or trainee for the duration of the internship and, depending on the nature of the internship, might spend time in different parts of the organisation or work in one area to better develop specific skills.
Internships funded by the Merlin Trust
Gaining experience in different gardens (with different growing conditions or approaches), different horticultural areas (from public gardens to commercial plant production), working with specific plant collections (such as National Plant Collections or in gardens recognised for particular plant collections), or working with horticulturists with specific skill or knowledge sets (for example, propagation of certain plants or expertise in a particular plant group) can all have a considerable impact on a career in horticulture or botany.
The Merlin Trust is wants to encourage such experience by offering grants to support travel, accommodation and subsistence during an internship, allowing young horticulturists to explore new, different or in-depth areas. While we cannot offer a salary or equivalent to support internships, the grant can support most costs that arise from undertaking a period of work experience away from home and so make it easier to obtain the experience needed to progress a horticultural career.
We have already developed an internship opportunity with Waterperry Gardens thanks to the support of The Saxifrage Society who helped us create the McGregor Saxifrage Study Grant as well as an opportunity with the Schachen Alpine Garden in Germany. We are seeking to develop internship opportunities with other organisations willing to host an intern. We’re also keen to hear from potential interns who have a specific internship idea that will benefit them. So if you are an organisation willing to host an intern, a mentor who would be interested in working with an intern or someone looking for a specific internship, please get in touch with us.
Talk to the Merlin Trust about your internship idea
Get in touch by emailing [email protected] to discuss further. Your plans can be well developed or you might want help and advice in creating an internship opportunity – no matter the stage you are at, do get in touch.
Normal Merlin Trust elgibility criteria apply. See the criteria on the Available Grants page for more information.