GCA Launches New Sustainable Pest Control Course on GROW e-Learning Platform


Garden center staff now have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in deterring and combating pests through sustainable pest control methods, thanks to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) GROW (Garden Retail Online Workshops) e-Learning platform, launched in November 2023.

The introduction of the Sustainable Pest Control course responds to the growing trend among gardeners who, mindful of their environmental impact, are seeking eco-friendly approaches to pest prevention.

Antony Snow, GROW’s Instructional Designer, expressed enthusiasm about the course, stating, “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’s comprehensive courses cover a range of essential topics, empowering employees with the confidence and expertise to assist customers and colleagues effectively.

Peter Burks, GCA Chief Executive, emphasized the importance of adapting to the evolving preferences of garden center customers: “We are fortunate that many garden center 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.”

Accessible to all GCA garden center members and teams, as well as Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) garden centers, GROW operates around the clock, providing a cost-effective means of staff training and personal development that enriches the customer experience.

GROW, initially conceived during a strategy meeting of the GCA’s executive committee, operates as a self-funding and non-profit facility. With over 100 courses and 12,000-plus users across the UK, the platform covers diverse topics, including horticulture, customer service, food safety, regulated sales, and health and safety.

Peter Burks invites those interested in GROW and its courses to contact Antony or himself for more information, with details available on the GCA website (www.gca.org.uk/gca-grow-information) and through the dedicated email address: grow@gca.org.uk.

The GROW e-Learning facility is accessible to GCA member garden centers and HTA garden center members. The new Sustainable Pest Control course is immediately available to existing subscribers.

Representing over 200 garden centers nationwide, the GCA fosters high standards in customer service, plant quality, and reliability through information-sharing and inspection programs. For additional information, visit www.gca.org.uk.

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