Gardener

Alternative titles for this job include Horticultural worker

Gardeners grow and look after plants in private and public green spaces.

Average salary (a year)

£16,000 Starter

to

£25,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 variable

You could work

freelance / self-employed managing your own hours

How to become a Gardener

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • specialist courses run by a professional body

College

You could do a college course in gardening or horticulture to get some of the knowledge and practical skills needed for this career. Courses include:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Horticulture Skills
  • Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture and Amenity Horticulture
  • Level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture

Courses would cover things like identification of plants, growing plants from seed and how to use gardening machinery safely.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship as a horticulture and landscape operative.

The Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) offers horticultural apprenticeships in some of their national gardens for 16 to 19 year olds.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could also start as an assistant gardener and work your way up.

If you have some related work experience, this could help you to get a job.

Volunteering and experience

You could get experience by volunteering through Do-it or with organisations like:

Direct application

To work as a gardener you would need to be able to show employers that you have the gardening skills, knowledge and enthusiasm they are looking for. Experience in gardening or a horticultural role is highly valued by employers.

Other routes

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) offers courses which are suitable if you want to learn more about gardening, or if you want to get qualifications that will help you get a job in horticulture.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a gardener from Grow Careers and Horticulture Week.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • customer service skills
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • raising plants from seeds or cuttings
  • digging, planting and weeding flower beds and borders
  • pruning shrubs and trees
  • checking the health of plants and controlling pests
  • using machinery like lawn mowers and hedge trimmers
  • looking after the appearance of plants and the surrounding landscape
  • cleaning and maintaining equipment
  • basic building tasks like laying patios, or putting up sheds and fences

Working environment

You could work in woodland, in a park, at a client's business or at a client's home.

Your working environment may be at height and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior or head gardener.

You could move into other work like landscaping, greenkeeping or the care of trees and shrubs (arboriculture).

You could also set up your own business, offering a service to private customers.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Under Gardener

  • Wage : £160.00 Weekly
  • Location: Ipswich IP7 7HG

Horticulture Landscaping Apprentice

  • Wage : £157.50 Weekly
  • Location: Liss GU33 6HQ

Courses In England

Horticulture Skills

  • Provider: Bedfordshire & Luton Education Business Partnership
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: Dunstable

Horticulture & Gardening taster

  • Provider: Derbyshire County Council
  • Start date: 30 April 2019
  • Location: NEW MILLS HIGH PEAK

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