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Qualifications and Training

Paper qualifications are not essential for all sectors of horticulture industry. However for people without qualifications work tends to be poorly paid and seasonal. Much of the industry is difficult to get into without paper qualifications. There is a great range of qualifications on offer from basic introductory courses up to degree level, with many being run at your local college.

Always check that qualifications are recognised by a professional body so that you know it meets the standards required by the industry you are going into (especially if you are paying a private college or training organisation).

If you are thinking of setting up your own business - from a market garden to becoming a contractor - you can find short courses at your local college and through your local trade organisations. These can include first aid, bookkeeping, customer service, chainsaw use, etc. Basic skills courses to improve your English or maths are usually free.

Agriculture related qualifications available at your local college include:

City and Guilds - Certificate in Gardening for anyone who is interested in gardening.Practical Certificate in Gardening for those who want to work in horticulture

NVQ levels 1 to 3 These teach work-based skills and you can study them whilst working.

First and National Diplomas/Certificates in horticulture. These full-time courses provide work experience.

National Certificate or Advanced National Certificate full-time courses

GNVQs and AVCEs These work-related courses can be studied full-time or part-time at college

Modern Apprenticeships and National Traineeships allow you to work for an employer and study at college for an NVQ.

Higher National Certificate and Diplomas (HNCs and HNDs) in a range of related subjects. The HNC can be studied part-time whilst the HND is part-time.

Degrees in horticulture or a science subject for those seeking a job in research, plant/environmental science or management

Many organisations also provide training:

Lantra - the lead training organisation for land-based industries www.lantra.co.uk. Their website has careers information and a register of training providers. Below is a list of some of the qualifications Lantra accredits:

National Occupational Standards Title NVQ/SVQ Qualification Structure Titles
Amenity Horticulture Amenity Horticulture Levels 2 and 3Amenity Horticulture (Nursery) Level 2Amenity Horticulture (Landscaping) Level 2Amenity Horticulture (Sports Turf) Levels 2 and 3Amenity Horticulture (Interior Landscaping) Level 2Amenity Horticulture (Cemeteries & Graveyards) Level 2
Horticulture Horticulture Level 1
Production Horticulture Production Horticulture Levels 2 and 3

RHS has several qualifications including General Examination, Advanced Certificate and Diploma

Many trade associations run short courses.

For more information on agriculture careers, use our Careers Information web pages at

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