Budding Diarmuid Gavins and Charlie Dimmocks will be pleased to hear that the demand for good quality gardeners with green fingers and great ideas is on the increase.
So, if the thought of spending more than a few hours within the confines of an office makes you want to run for the hills, read on for the lowdown on how to carve a trade career in horticulture.
So, what will I actually be doing?
Gardeners can work in a variety of environments such as maintaining local parks and grounds, hard landscaping, working in a nursery or garden design.
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The nitty gritty
You can expect to spend a large amount of time outdoors, quite often the work will be physically demanding, you’ll be expected to work regardless of the weather and you may be asked to operate heavy machinery.
Money, money, money
What you earn largely depends on your qualifications and experience. While maintenance jobs pay little more than the basic wage, senior gardeners can earn £25k plus while self-employed gardeners can negotiate their own daily rate.
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The good points...
“The best thing for me is working in the sun," says Martin Nicholls who runs his own landscape gardening business. "I love being outdoors and I can't imagine working in an office day in day out. I also love the job satisfaction of seeing things being built from ideas to realisation. I get a buzz problem solving. I also love the fact the work is so physical."
...and the bad
“The worst thing is working in the bad weather, having dirty hands and clothes all the time and dealing with bad clients.”
Is there study involved?
Anyone with green fingers can start work as a gardener but, as always, letters after your name help. Here’s a list of qualifications that will give your career in the gardening world a boost.
RHS General Certificate in horticulture: covers the basic principles of gardening and is often taken as a precursor to higher qualifications.
NVQ/SVQ: a demonstration of competence carried out at your workplace. Levels range from 1 to 5 and can be taken in horticulture, forestry, floristry or conservation.
BTEC First Diploma Award in horticulture: an introductory course to hard and soft landscaping and commercial horticulture. The First Diploma Award allows entry to the BTEC National Diploma in Agriculture.
BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in horticulture: an introduction to the principles of rock and water landscape production, plant production and garden design.
Or, take it further with BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma in horticulture and choose to specialise in a particular area.
Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
Anyone who loves to be outdoors and gets a buzz from nurturing nature is an ideal candidate to train to work as a gardener. You’ll need to be healthy and robust plus a strong creative instinct will give you an advantage. Basically, if you like sitting on your sofa for hours watching TV, this isn't for you.