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Horticultural worker

Alternative titles for this job include Horticultural assistant, garden nursery assistant, garden centre worker

Horticultural workers grow and sell plants in nurseries and garden centres, and tend to plants in parks and gardens.

Average salary (a year)

£13,000 Starter

to

£23,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

43 to 45 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a horticultural worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
  • training with a professional body

College

You could take a course at college. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 1 Award in Practical Horticulture
  • Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in Horticulture

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More Information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to get into this job by doing a horticulture and landscape operative intermediate apprenticeship.

You can also do a packhouse line leader advanced apprenticeship, if you're working on a horticultural production line, for example picking and packing plants and flowers to order.

You could move onto a horticulture supervisor advanced apprenticeship as you get more experience.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Volunteering

You can gain experience through volunteering with organisations like the Royal Horticultural Society.

Direct Application

You can apply directly if you have experience of things like gardening, horticulture or retail work. You could get trained up on the job or develop your skills through a part-time course. Employers may ask for GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in maths, English and science.

Other Routes

You could do a training course through a professional body like The Royal Horticultural Society. Their courses can be done at a training centre, with some available by distance learning.

More Information

Career tips

Employers often recruit casual staff during busy growing periods so you may be able to get experience through part-time or holiday work while you study.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in horticulture through Grow Careers and The Royal Horticultural Society.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • the ability to work on your own
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

On a typical day working in parks and gardens you could:

  • sow seeds, plant bulbs and ornamental plants
  • grow plants from cuttings and by grafting
  • water, weed, prune, feed and spray plants
  • mow grass, cut dead growth and branches, and generally tidy up
  • lay paths and look after ornamental features
  • monitor plant health and quality

In a garden centre you could also:

  • pick, sort and package produce to be delivered
  • organise product displays
  • advise and serve customers

Working environment

You could work in a garden, in a park, on a country estate or at a garden centre.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could progress to a supervisor role, or set up your own nursery or garden maintenance business.

You may be able to move into horticultural technician work or garden centre management by completing industry qualifications like those from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Gardener

  • Wage: £175.00 Weekly
  • Location: Bicester

Horticulture Apprentice

  • Wage: £400.00 Weekly
  • Location: Spalding

Courses In England

LEVEL 2.5 DIPLOMA IN PRACTICAL HORTICULTURAL SKILLS

  • Provider: DCG
  • Start date: 13 September 2022
  • Location: Ilkeston

Horticulture Therapy

  • Provider: HILLINGDON LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL
  • Start date: 25 April 2022
  • Location: Hillingdon

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