BictonColl Gardening

Jobs in gardening and horticulture

We are the horticulture volunteers at Bicton College.

Please note – the help and advice below is from the horticulture department – it it not from Bicton College or Cornwall College.

You may be thinking, it’s all very well doing gardening because I get to be outside, breathe in fresh air, keep fit, and see lovely coloured flowers … however, I want a job at the end of it.

Firstly, definitions:

  • the word ‘gardening‘ tends to be used for jobs such as self-employed gardener, or working in a garden centre. 
  • the word ‘horticulture‘ tends to be used for jobs in nurseries specialising in a particular type of plant, such a roses, fruit trees etc …, or for jobs in large gardens such as the National Trust gardens or other stately homes

Gardening and horticulture covers many areas of our lives …

You may be thinking, it’s all very well doing gardening because I get to be outside, breathe in fresh air, keep fit, and see lovely coloured flowers … however, I want a job at the end of it.

Firstly, definitions:

  • the word ‘gardening‘ tends to be used for jobs such as self-employed gardener, or working in a garden centre. 
  • the word ‘horticulture‘ tends to be used for jobs in nurseries specialising in a particular type of plant, such a roses, fruit trees etc …, or for jobs in large gardens such as the National Trust gardens or other stately homes

Gardening and horticulture covers many areas of our lives …

How often do you do any of the following:

  • walk on grass
  • play a game on a sports pitch
  • eat fruit
  • eat veg
  • walk on a path
  • lean up against an outdoor wall or fence
  • walk past a hedge
  • see trees
  • see flowers
  • see a pond
  • use a driveway
  • go to a park
  • sit in a garden
  • eat something flavoured with herbs
  • visit or drive past or visit a stately home – (such as Bicton’s mansion house !), or colleges, schools,  retirement homes, nurseries … they all have gardens/grounds of some sort

How often do you do any of the following:

  • walk on grass
  • play a game on a sports pitch
  • eat fruit
  • eat veg
  • walk on a path
  • lean up against an outdoor wall or fence
  • walk past a hedge
  • see trees
  • see flowers
  • see a pond
  • use a driveway
  • go to a park
  • sit in a garden
  • eat something flavoured with herbs
  • visit or drive past or visit a stately home – (such as Bicton’s mansion house !), or colleges, schools,  retirement homes, nurseries … they all have gardens/grounds of some sort

Fruit, veg, flowers, trees, paths, ponds, walls, fences, parks … we come into contact with most of that on a regular basis – and it is all about gardening and horticulture.

Think of all the green spaces, gardens, fruit, veg and flowers you come across when you go out and about.  Someone has to grow of all of that, and someone has to maintain those gardens, parks, grounds, sports pitches etc …

So the amount of jobs to do with gardening and horticulture is huge !

What type of job ?

We can break down the types of jobs as follows:

amenity horticulture: jobs involving landscaped areas, such as landscaping, planning, creating them, maintenance. Such areas could be anything from sports grounds such as football pitches, golf courses, parks, formal gardens for a stately home, or domestic gardens

production horticulture: jobs involving the production of plants for food and ornamental purposes, such as fruit, veg, trees, and herbs which are produced on a large scale for sale

What type of job ?

We can break down the types of jobs as follows:

amenity horticulture: jobs involving landscaped areas, such as landscaping, planning, creating them, maintenance. Such areas could be anything from sports grounds such as football pitches, golf courses, parks, formal gardens for a stately home, or domestic gardens

production horticulture: jobs involving the production of plants for food and ornamental purposes, such as fruit, veg, trees, and herbs which are produced on a large scale for sale

18+ or changing careers

Jobs advertised as being for 18+ or anyone else with limited gardening experience, include:

  • agencies such as Taskrabbit looking for gardeners to be paid an hourly rate, such as £14 per hour
  • assistant gardener
  • green spaces carers eg. city parks
  • grounds maintenance eg. for parks and gardens
  • horticultural labourer
  • working on a commercial fruit or vegetable garden
  • horticultural apprentice

18+ or changing careers

Jobs advertised as being for 18+ or anyone else with limited gardening experience, include:

  • agencies such as Taskrabbit looking for gardeners to be paid an hourly rate, such as £14 per hour
  • assistant gardener
  • green spaces carers eg. city parks
  • grounds maintenance eg. for parks and gardens
  • horticultural labourer
  • working on a commercial fruit or vegetable garden
  • horticultural apprentice

If you have some experience ...

Jobs which are often advertised as requiring a Level 2 qualificationt, or want an experienced person, include:

  • National Trust gardener
  • Commercial gardener eg. to work in a specialist nursery, such as for bedding plants, hanging baskets, lillies, orchids …
  • landscape gardener
  • grounds person eg. for the maintenance of sports pitches and the surrounding garden areas
  • landscaper to help landscape the areas around office buildings or houses on estates whilst they as being built
  • garden manager
  • kitchen gardener – this could be for any business, eg. football clubs, stately homes
  • grower

If you have some experience ...

Jobs which are often advertised as requiring a Level 2 qualificationt, or want an experienced person, include:

  • National Trust gardener
  • Commercial gardener eg. to work in a specialist nursery, such as for bedding plants, hanging baskets, lillies, orchids …
  • landscape gardener
  • grounds person eg. for the maintenance of sports pitches and the surrounding garden areas
  • landscaper to help landscape the areas around office buildings or houses on estates whilst they as being built
  • garden manager
  • kitchen gardener – this could be for any business, eg. football clubs, stately homes
  • grower

Check out the job situation beforehand

Before you start any training – and that applies to gardening or anything else you decide you want to do, if you are looking to get paid work from doing that course, a wise idea is to check out:

  • what the jobs are that you can do having passed your course – or even having not yet finished, or passed it
  • which jobs appeal to you
  • if those jobs are available in the geographic area you want to work in
  • how often those jobs tend to become available
  • if there is a lot of other people competing for those jobs
  • what times of day or night you will be required to work
  • what age range if relevant, you need to be in to have a chance of getting the job eg. it is for school leavers

Before you start any training – and that applies to gardening or anything else you decide you want to do, if you are looking to get paid work from doing that course, a wise idea is to check out:

  • what the jobs are that you can do having passed your course – or even having not yet finished, or passed it
  • which jobs appeal to you
  • if those jobs are available in the georgraphic area you want to work in
  • how often those jobs become available
  • if there is a lot of other people competing for those jobs
  • what times of day or night you will be required to work
  • what age range if relevant, you need to be to get the job

For example, if you want to work as a self-employed gardener, before you enroll on your course, check out if there are already loads of self-employed gardeners working in the area you want to work …  

If there is already loads there, it may be that you have to go about things more slowly than you would have liked.

Perhaps try to find one garden, and then by working in the area and talking with people as they see you unloading or loading up, or they see any signs you have  on your car/van, and then find more customers over time.

By having a look around the internet, magazines, watching gardening programmes on TV, talking to people at your local garden nursery, you can get a good idea of the sorts of jobs available, and start to get a plan together of what job(s) you would like to do.

How do I do that ?

Get onto the internet !

Put into google something like ‘gardening jobs near me‘ – see what comes up.  Have a look at the job adverts on there.  Notice:

  • when the job advert was posted up
  • what the pay is
  • how you are payed – by the hour, salary etc …
  • who posted the advert – an agency, garden centre, The National Trust, or other company or charity
  • what the job actually involves doing
  • where you be doing the job, eg which county, which town/city, what type of building – plant nursery, garden centre, formal gardens
  • what qualifications you need in order to get the job
  • is it open to all ages, is it for school leavers
  • is it an apprenticeship

Job websites

Use other job websites as well as just using google, such as:

Other resources

Other ways you can find out about gardening and horticulture jobs include:

  • garden centres – talk to the people who work there about the tasks they do, and what they think about gardening related jobs
  • magazines eg. gardening magazines, house and garden magazines – look for any features about gardening, and also adverts at the back to see if anyone is advertising a gardening related job
  • TV programmes eg. Gardener’s World, house and garden programmes
  • youtube gardening sites eg. how to grow veg – this will bring up a whole host of different videos which may lead you to other youtube channels to give you some ideas about gardening jobs

Good luck !

Gardening and horticulture affects us all.  With a bit of thought you can work out which area of gardening and horticulture appeals to you …  Then with some planning and research, you can determine how you can start to find work that will lead you in that direction.

This website is for BictonColl Gardening.  We are the horticulture volunteers at Bicton College.  To find out more about horticulture at Bicton, please see the following links:

Follow BictonColl Gardening

Bicton College is part of The Cornwall College Group which offers educational courses to people aged 16 and above.  To find out more about Bicton College and the courses they offer, please see the following links:

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