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Applications Open for RHS Work-based Training


The three work-based training programmes offered by the RHS have opened, and there is something for those new to horticulture and horticulturists wishing to take their career to the next level. The work-based training positions are unique opportunities for successful applicants to gain hands-on skills and experience alongside leading experts, preparing them for life in industry, with the benefit of having no debt at the end of training as all positions are paid.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic the charity has seen an upsurge in interest in its work-based placements, with applications increasing by 60% in 2021 compared to 2020. Demand for horticultural skills is predicted to continue to grow in future, particularly in specialist and technical roles, which will be instrumental in ensuring the industry’s transition to net zero while also increasing biodiversity in gardens and promoting the benefits of gardens to public health.

Students graduating in 2022 have gone on to a wide variety of roles, including continuing to work for the RHS, head gardener for a National Trust property, self-employment, pursuing a Masters degree and international research.

Level 2 Horticultural Apprenticeships

These apprenticeships do not require any prior experience or horticultural qualifications, just a love of gardens and the outdoors, so are the perfect entry point into professional gardening. The apprenticeships last two years and are available across all five RHS gardens. Apprentices will learn practical skills in plant propagation and growth, and will undertake rotations through various garden departments, combining practical work assisting staff with day-to-day tasks with block-release teaching.

There is a specialist apprenticeship in arboriculture available at RHS Garden Wisley and RHS Garden Rosemoor, which will give experience in maintaining, enhancing and developing trees within the wider landscape of a public garden.

Applications close on 1st March 2023.

Professional Work Placements

This one-year position, formerly called Specialist Horticultural Placements, requires a minimum of an existing Level 2 horticultural qualification, plus six months in industry, and is also available across all five RHS gardens. There is not a formal qualification at the end of the placement, so the full year can be spent immersed in the chosen specialism. This allows for a greater understanding of the seasonality of the particular area in the garden and means participants can refine their skills guided by experts in their chosen field.

Specialisms within the Professional Work Placements include edibles, ornamentals and sustainable horticulture, but each garden has different specialisms on offer.

Applications close on 1st February 2023.

Level 3 and 4 Diploma in Horticultural Practice

The prestigious Diploma in Horticultural Practice programme is offered at RHS Garden Wisley, and provides ten students per year with an intensive, two-year learning experience, enabling them to grow their knowledge and skills in horticulture to a supervisory level. Students must have some previous experience, including a Level 2 horticultural qualification.

Students partake in regular masterclasses and rotate around the garden, learning about all areas of ornamental horticulture, and will be given unique opportunities such as helping at RHS Flower Shows, managing their own allotment space and designing and building a garden for the local community. They will also gain supervisory and management skills including budgeting and communications.

Accommodation is available with this programme so re-location is possible. Applications close on 1st February 2023.

The RHS is hosting a free virtual event on Thursday 12th January at 6.30 pm for prospective students. This event is to help potential applicants discover everything they need to know about the Diploma programme, and life as an employed student. The evening will provide an overview of the programme, details of eligibility, accommodation, salary, how to apply, and an opportunity to hear from six speakers with different experiences of the programme.

Speakers include RHS staff, alumni and current students. Sue Moss, RHS Head of Education and Learning, and Sheila Das, Garden Manager at RHS Garden Wisley will be sharing their insight to the programme. Also speaking are Sean Harkin and Anna Mortimer, RHS alumni, who offer insight to the key skills they gained. Sean Harkin is current Head Gardener at the Inner Temple. Anna Mortimer graduated in 2020 and is now Senior Gardener at Dinder House. They will also be joined by two second year students currently undertaking their Level 4 qualification, Eloise Curtis and Jonathan Zerr. The students will speak on their experience to date, what they are learning and what it is like living together in Wisley Village.

Places can be booked here: eventbrite.com

For more information on all RHS work-based training visit: www.rhs.org.uk/workbasedtraining

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This story was published on: 23/12/2022

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