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Finding Work In Horticulture

Paths To Working In Horticulture

One of the most common routes into horticulture is through a mixture of practical experience and studying the theory by distance learning.  Several of the ACS courses require one, or two, hundred hours of practical experience.  This gives the student the opportunity to see how what they are learning in lessons can be applied in the work place.  Where this practical experience takes place is very varied.  It may be that the student already has a job and so this can count.  However, if this is not the case then where does one start looking?

Horticulture is divided into two broad categories; commercial and amenity.  Commercial involves growing plants for sale, such as nurseries or fruit and vegetables, whereas amenity horticulture is where plants are grown for recreational or decorative reasons such as sport or parks and gardens.  Some of the same skills are required which ever area you are working in.  For example, growing plants from seed is common to both commercial nursery work and amenity decorative gardening.

If you are interested in commercial work, then there are several options.  Market gardeners grow vegetables and fruit for sale, and they often require seasonal help with picking.  Nursery work is more all year round, as is garden centre work.  An advantage of garden centre work is that customers are regularly asking for advice and this really helps the learning process.

If amenity horticulture is more attractive to you then you can find employment in many different areas.  There are many opportunities for work with sports turf ranging from golf courses to racecourses.  There is then the more decorative side, such as the historic gardens of the National Trust or the botanic gardens.  Both of these have apprentice or trainee schemes, and both are very good place to start.

Across the board there are contractors who offer specialist services such as grass cutting or garden design and landscaping.  These will all be looking for new staff from time to time.  When starting out on a career in horticulture it is a very good idea to try several different areas to see which appeals most.  It is often possible to volunteer for some employers and this is another really good way to gain experience and fulfil the work-experience of ACS courses.

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