Want a Career in Horticulture?
HOW TO START A CAREER IN HORTICULTURE
Horticulture is an interesting career for individuals who love to nurture and take care of plants. Horticulturists are responsible for the development and growth of plants on a commercial level. Horticulture can be categorized into these three following areas: Garden Centers, Amenity Horticulture, and Production Horticulture. Garden Centers produce plants for sale to the members of the general public and have moved to sales of garden tools and furniture, sales of protective clothing, etc. On the other hand, Amenity Horticulture entails the planning, designing and maintenance of parks, woodlands, interior landscaping, and areas that require flowers, shrubs, and plants.
Production Horticulture involves the mass production of vegetables, fruits, flowers, and plants in greenhouses, nurseries, farms with the application of sophisticated strategies.
These are the responsibilities of a professional horticulturist:
- Cultivation of plants, sowing seeds, nurturing cuttings, planting of bulbs, and transfer of seedlings to containers and pots.
- Watering, weeding, pruning of plants.
- Application of pesticides to eliminate the presence of pests and diseases.
- Maintenance of horticultural machinery in excellent condition
- Laying of paths and exhibition of display features like pergolas.
- Provision of retail sales and marketing and guidance tips to clients.
- Maintenance of the working environment to ensure it is hygienic.
- Maintenance of the humidity, light, and temperature at a normal level.
Being a horticulturist has enormous challenges and rewards. The job is also affected by the weather conditions and there is a need to be available at work irrespective of the weather condition. You are expected to work for at least forty hours on a weekly basis. You might be required to work overtime as work requires on some occasions. In some cases, you may be required on weekends. Due to its physically demanding nature, you are required to work under all weather conditions and need to wear protective clothing.
Having a driving license is an added advantage, and the starting salaries range between £10,000 to £15,000 annually.
GETTING STARTED WITH THIS CAREER CHOICE
The Horticulture industry in the United Kingdom is a massive employer of labor as there are more than eighteen million gardens in the United Kingdom. There is an increased demand for skilled horticulturists as there are open positions for horticulture workers in the country. It is on record that more than £20 million is spent on gardening products yearly, and there is a need to fill these vacant positions with experienced horticulturists.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Some employers request for GCSE’s/S grades (A-C/1-3), especially in science subjects, or a BTEC First Diploma in Land-based Industries or Horticulture from applicants. However, most botanical gardens make it compulsory for an applicant to have a qualification in any horticulture course before offering a job.
There are full-time and part-time courses in various colleges in the United Kingdom. These courses are available to provide you with the practical experience and knowledge about theories of horticulture to start your career.
These are the courses you could study to have a career in horticulture:
- City & Guilds National Certificate in Horticulture and Advanced National Certificate in Horticulture.
- BTEC first, national and diploma awards, and higher national certificate/diploma awards in horticulture.
- NVQ’s/SVQ’s in Horticulture and related subjects at Levels 1 to 4.
- General Examination in Horticulture, the RHS Advanced Certificate, and RHS Diploma offered by The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
If you want an admission through the National Trust Apprenticeship program, you are required to have four GCSE’s/five S grades (A-C/1-3), including mathematics, English and science, or equivalent qualifications.
These are the qualities of a horticulturist:
- Must not be allergic to pollen-related allergies and strong
- Be ready to work under all weather conditions.
- Have an in-depth understanding of safety and health procedures.
- Have knowledge of the scientific and technical aspects of horticulture.
- Maintain excellent relationships with other team members.
- Have excellent communication skills.
- Be willing to offer customer support and guidance.
- Ability to work without supervision.