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How To Become A Gardener

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If you enjoy working in the outdoors and enjoy getting your hands dirty then a career in Gardening might be for you. Quality Gardeners can earn up to £25,000 per year, enjoy the benefits of being self-employed (such as setting your own hours) and usually don’t require a degree or any form of advanced qualification.

How to become a Gardener UK

There are a few main routes you can take to becoming a Gardener in the UK:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Courses/degrees (run by colleges, universities or professional bodies)
  • Work experience or volunteering

We’ll cover all of the easiest ways to become a Gardener in the UK in this article.

What skills do you need to be a Gardener?

While you might be considering a number of different career opportunities, it’s always worth considering which one might suit you best. You’d likely make a good Gardener if you have any of the following skills, knowledge or traits:

  • Attention to detail
  • Patience
  • Team player
  • Good with customers
  • Happy operating, controlling and maintaining tools and equipment
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Physically capable

If that sounds like you, let’s go through your options.

1. Apprenticeship

The UK government has continued to push businesses to take on apprentices, and with COVID-19 putting a halt to many businesses operations it was recently announced there would be bonuses for any businesses hiring apprentices, giving a well-needed boost to the demand for apprentices in the UK.

There are 3 core levels to the UK apprenticeship market:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeship: A few GCSEs (or equivalent), likely including English and Maths
  • Advanced Apprenticeship: 5+ GCSEs (C or above) (or equivalent), including English and Maths
  • Higher Apprenticeship: Foundation Degree (or equivalent)

Apprenticeships have a number of benefits compared to some of the other options on our list—you’ll be paid for the work you do, and the business that hires you will put time aside for you to complete additional training/studies to help expand your skills (and future employability).

Traineeships

Traineeships are a great option for anyone not yet eligible for an apprenticeship, or for someone not quite sure what they’d like to spend their career doing just yet. You’ll typically spend 70-100 hours on it, gaining work experience and valuable guidance. As part of the scheme, you’ll also get help with writing your CV and preparing for interviews—as well as valuable referees from the work you’ve done.

How to apply for a Gardening apprenticeship?

It’s a fairly simple process to apply for apprenticeships in the UK. The government have a job portal for apprenticeships, which should absolutely be the first resource you check.

Local colleges, schools and institutions often run careers days for the surrounding areas too—these can be a great way to answer any questions you have, learn more about the local market and even get some inspiration for where you might want to focus your career.

Similarly, don’t be afraid to have a look on Google for businesses operating in your local area—they’ll often have a careers/contact us section you can use to send across a copy of your CV (and perhaps a few reasons why they might want to hire you!).

2. Courses

If you’re looking to stay in education, improve the strength of your CV and gain experience within the Gardening sector then taking a course might be for you. You can take both full or part-time courses, so they can fit around your life more easily, and the entry requirements are slightly less rigorous than those for an apprenticeship.

What qualifications/educations do you need to get into a Gardening course?

While entry requirements at every college/institution will be different, you can generally expect to be accepted onto a course if you meet the following criteria:

  • Level 1: 0-2 GCSEs (pass or above)
  • Level 2: 2+ GCSEs (D or above)
  • Level 3: 4-5 GCSEs (C or above)

Courses are naturally less “hands-on” than an apprenticeship or direct work experience (although you won’t be in a classroom 9-5 so could easily fit in some part-time work around one), so might not suit anyone looking to get their hands dirty straight away—however you’ll learn skills, techniques and information that you might not pick up as quickly while working—especially on Health and Safety.

Courses also give you access to tutors and staff with a wealth of experience. You’ll be able to ask questions to tutors with years of Gardening knowledge, and on-site careers teams can help you put your CV together, prepare for any interviews and even support you with job applications directly—a valuable resource as you prepare to go out into the job market.

Where can I find Gardening courses UK?

Most colleges in the UK advertise through the National Careers Service portal, so that should definitely be your first stop on your search. If you’re lacking in any skills that you’ll need (such as IT or Maths) there’s also an excellent online course portal that can help you sharpen up and improve your CV.

3. Work Experience

There is no definitive guide to gaining work experience—some do it through apprenticeships, some do it through online job applications and some prefer to keep an eye on local newspapers and job boards.

If this is the route you’re going to take, there are a few things you’ll want to have prepared before you start applying—you’ll want to make sure your CV is concise, and focused on the skills that an employer in that industry is likely to be interested in. You can also consider attaching a short cover letter, explaining your reasons for applying and why you might be a good hire for a Gardening business.

Also, make sure you’re prepared for your interview. Have some good examples of times you’ve been a team player, have shown initiative or have gone “above and beyond” to achieve a goal. You can also ask a parent, teacher or friend to ask you a few questions at random and get feedback on whether your answer was convincing enough if you want some practical interview experience.

Volunteering as a Gardener UK

Volunteering is a great way to build your CV and gain valuable experience. It can prove to potential future employers that you genuinely enjoy the work (you’re unlikely to be paid for any volunteering work) and are interested in more than just your paycheck at the end of the month. Gardeners take great pride in their work, so this type of passion and attitude can be a real plus for anyone thinking about hiring you.

Local councils regularly run volunteer hiring drives—a Google search for volunteering in your local area should give you the result you’re looking for. Otherwise you can try websites like Do-it that support local charities with their volunteer hiring.

For gardening specifically, consider charities/organisations that are focused on nature and wildlife—The Conservation Volunteers , National Trust or The Wildlife Trusts might be a good start.

How to become a Landscape Gardener UK

Just like a traditional Gardener, the route to becoming a Landscape Gardener might include apprenticeships, courses or work experience/volunteering. Look specifically for any courses focused on Landscape Construction if you’re certain that Landscaping is the job for you, but otherwise more general Horticulture courses will still be extremely valuable to any potential employers.

Becoming a Landscaping Gardener/Landscaper might have slightly higher entry requirements (and there are very few Level 1 courses available for pure Landscaping) however it seems to be worth it in the long-run, with experienced Landscapers earning up to up to £30,000 per year, £5,000 more than a traditional Gardener.

What does a Gardener do in the UK?

Gardening work in the UK is highly varied. Your working environment can change from somebody’s garden to a local park, on a business site or in the woods. You’ll be out in all weathers, from glorious sunshine to classic British rain, and might even find yourself up tall trees or on a ladder trimming high bushes.

While every day is different, there are a few tasks you can expect to make up the majority of your working week:

  • Raising and maintaining plants
  • Digging, planting and weeding flower beds
  • Trimming trees/shrubs
  • Controlling pests, such as slugs
  • Lawn mowing
  • Laying patios
  • Putting up sheds/fences
  • Maintain equipment (trimmers, ladders etc.)

Do I need insurance as a Gardener?

Every Gardener in the UK needs insurance to make sure they’re covered at all times. Our guide to Gardeners insurance is a great resource for anyone wondering what they’ll need to get started. And similarly, if you’re setting up your own business or becoming self-employed, we put together a more specific guide to Insurance for Self-Employed Gardeners.

Find Gardeners insurance today.
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How much does a Gardener earn UK?

According to the Office for National Statistics, Gardeners earn an average of £21,169 in the UK. London’s Gardeners are the UK’s highest earners, taking in an average of £22,733 per year, with Gardeners in the East Midlands earning the least—around £18,264 per year.

graph showing the average salary for farm workers in the UK
RegionAverage Salary
UK Average£21,169
East Midlands£18,264
West Midlands£19,223
Scotland£20,277
South East£20,861
Yorkshire and The Humber£21,388
South West£21,729
North West£21,915
North East£22,052
London£22,733

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.