The Advanced Apprenticeship will stand you in good stead for supervisory and management roles in the horticulture industry.
You will gain more specialist knowledge and skills as well as the confidence, versatility and problem-solving abilities you need to succeed.
You must be in employment and be committed to a career in the horticulture industry. Entry qualifications are flexible and can include a relevant Level 2 qualification in Horticulture or a minimum of three GCSEs at grade C or above, preferably including English Language, Maths and a Science.
You will undergo an initial assessment before starting the programme to ensure that you are capable of achieving the outcomes and have an interest in this area of work.
Training is largely work-based, with ongoing practical assessments undertaken in your workplace.
You will keep a portfolio of evidence of your ability and theoretical understanding and your progress will be regularly reviewed and assessed.
You will need to provide safety boots, overalls, waterproofs and writing materials.
There are no course fees for applicants aged 16-18. For apprentices over the age of 19, an employer contribution is required towards the cost of training.
You can advance to higher education to take a foundation or honours degree in subjects such as Horticulture, Garden and Landscape Design, Plant Science and Horticulture Production Management.
You can progress your career into roles such as horticultural technician, garden designer, senior gardener, head groundsman or parks officer.
Former mature horticulture student Stuart Thom has reinvented his entire career through hard work and the support of Derby College. Just over ten years ago, Stuart was unhappy in his work at bookshops in Ashbourne and Derby. He decided he needed a change – to find a career where he could see the seasons change and work outside.
Stuart attended an open evening at Broomfield Hall, where tutors pointed him towards Level 2 National Certificate in Horticulture. He liked the course and enrolled. Nervous about "going back to school", Stuart said the environment was welcoming and encouraging. The course provided "tasters" of the sector and helped him decide which areas he wanted to pursue.
At an early stage he found the "plant side" of horticulture really appealed, as opposed to other areas such as hard landscaping. His tutors encouraged him to go on to take the two year Level 3 Diploma. And seeing his potential, they supported his application to study for the Royal Horticultural Society's prestigious Wisley Diploma in Practical Horticulture at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey.
He was one of just ten people accepted on the course in his year. Now aged 41, Stuart has worked for the Crown Estate as a fulltime gardener at the Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park. He and his gardener wife Nadine are now working in Scotland, where Stuart is RHS co-ordinator at the National Trust for Scotland-run Threave Garden in Dumfries and Galloway.
Derby College was invaluable, and I wouldn't be where I am now without it. Being a mature student, I was quite nervous because you are going back to school, effectively 10 years or something after leaving for the first time. But everybody was so welcoming, and so encouraging. If you put in the effort you get it returned.
I can't thank the tutors enough: I'm so happy with my career now. It was a bit of gamble to change career but I worked hard and college really supported me and it paid off.