With 2020 seeing a gardening boom and many forced to consider their career options, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is giving 40 green-fingered applicants the chance to train at one of the charity’s five gardens from 2021.
Up 8% on last year, the RHS is searching for new recruits across its apprenticeship, student and specialist placement programmes including, for the first time, three new horticultural apprenticeships at RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford which opens to visitors in May. RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex and RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Yorkshire are the other stunning locations offering paid learning opportunities.
The ornamental horticulture industry is worth £24.2 billion to the UK economy each year with demand for skills only set to grow in the future, particularly for more specialist, technical and supervisory roles.
Plant lovers keen to take their first step into professional horticulture can apply for the two-year apprenticeship scheme (with no prior horticultural qualifications or experience needed) to gain skills and knowledge working alongside expert garden teams. The 15 new starters, set to join in August, will get to try their hand at tasks ranging from maintaining formal borders to propagation and fruit and vegetable production, while studying for a Level 2 apprenticeship qualification on block release at college (equivalent to GCSE grades 9-4/A*-C).
For those with prior gardening work experience, a Level 3 apprentice will be taken on at Rosemoor to train over two years and develop supervisory skills such as how to manage a garden. This is the first time the RHS has recruited for a higher level apprenticeship (equivalent to A level).
Applications for the RHS apprenticeship programmes close on 1st March 2021.
Suzanne Moss, RHS Head of Education and Learning said: “Perhaps you discovered the joys of gardening during lockdown and are interested in a fulfilling career with myriad opportunities to work outdoors and connect with nature. Or, you’re keen to move into a more meaningful role that can make a positive difference - by helping to combat climate change, support wildlife or improve people’s wellbeing for example. If so, the RHS apprenticeship scheme is a great entry point into the wonderful world of professional horticulture.”
The two-year RHS Diploma in Horticultural Practice, an in-depth work-based student programme taught at RHS Garden Wisley for those who already hold an apprentice-level qualification, and one-year specialist horticultural placements at all five gardens are also open for applications until 1st February 2021.
Students get the chance to tend their own allotment, visit RHS Chelsea Flower Show and have their garden designs turned into reality, while the placements enable horticulturists to hone their skills in a specialist field such as growing alpines, edibles or tropical plants under glass.
For further information and to apply visit the RHS website at: www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning