Sarah Parmor is originally from North Wales, and after going to University in Cardiff to study dentistry, she worked a...
- Work with plants in a range of different settings, from garden centres to commercial growers
- Often includes outdoor work and can be physically demanding
- Progress into management or with further training/experience into senior horticultural roles
As a horticultural worker, you may work in garden centres, producing plants for public sale; parks and gardens, looking after areas like private or public parks, gardens and green spaces; production horticulture, researching seed and plant development; and producing plants for the food, gardening and floristry industries.
- Sowing seeds, planting bulbs and ornamental plants
- Growing plants from cuttings and by grafting
- Taking care of plants, watering, weeding, pruning, feeding and spraying
- Mowing grass, cutting dead growth and branches, general tidying
- Laying paths and looking after ornamental features
- Researching new strains of seed and plants in the lab for crop production
- Picking, sorting and packaging produce to be sent to retailers
- Selling plants and other products
- Advising customers in a garden centre
You could work on a country estate, in a park, in a garden or at a garden centre, and your work may be outdoors in all weathers.
For this role, you'll need thoroughness and attention to detail, the ability to work well with others as well as on your own, to work well with your hands, flexibility and openness to change, persistence and determination, physical fitness, skills and endurance.
You could take a college course in relevant subjects to gardening or horticulture.
You can also do a horticulture and landscape operative intermediate apprenticeship, or a packhouse line leader advanced apprenticeship, if you're working on a horticultural production line. You could move onto a horticulture supervisor advanced apprenticeship as you get more experience.
Direct application is possible if you have experience working with plants, and employers might ask for GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in maths, English and science. You can get trained up on the job or develop your skills through a part-time course.
Alternatively, you could also do a training course through a professional body like The Royal Horticultural Society, which can be completed either at a training centre, or sometimes by distance learning.
Getting experience and skills from working in related jobs like gardening, forestry or farming could be useful. Customer service experience can also be helpful if you want to work in a garden centre.
With experience you could progress to a supervisor or manager role, or set up your own nursery or garden maintenance business. You could move into a research job for a university, or with a food and agricultural development company.