RHS Apprenticeships

Get the skills and qualifications you need for a career in horticulture with our two or three-year apprenticeship programmes

Applications are now closed

Applications for RHS Apprenticeships for an August 2022 start have now closed.


Apprentice at work in Harlow Carr

About the apprenticeships

Two-year programmes

  • Horticultural Operative Apprentices (L2) spend two years working alongside experienced horticulturists in our prestigious RHS Gardens. This experience gives a real understanding of the seasonal work involved in an ornamental garden. There is nothing like getting your hands dirty to grow your knowledge and confidence.
  • Arborist Apprentices (L2) spend two years working alongside experienced arboriculturists in our prestigious RHS Gardens. This experience gives a real understanding of the seasonal work involved in maintaining trees within a public garden. Arboricultural teams develop and enhance trees and the wider landscapes of RHS Gardens to delight visitors and benefit wildlife.

Three-year programmes

  • Horticultural Supervisor Apprentice (L3) spend three years working alongside experienced horticulturists at RHS Garden Rosemoor. This experience gives learners a real understanding of the seasonal work involved in an ornamental garden and an understanding of how garden teams carry out their work for the benefit of everyone.
  • Land-Based Service Engineering Technician (L3) spend three years working alongside experienced mechanics at RHS Garden Bridgewater. During this time, you will learn how to maintain, repair and inspect the diverse range of machinery and equipment used by horticultural teams for their safety and the longevity of the equipment.

Where you can study

Horticulture / Landscape Operative Apprenticeship (L2)

  • RHS apprentices study the horticulture option for this standard, which focuses on plant propagation and plant growth
  • Study is completed by block release at college
Available to study at:
Overview of the role

Arborist Apprenticeship (L2)

  • Planting, felling and maintaining trees
  • Study may be completed by block or day release depending on RHS Garden location
Available to study at:
Overview of the role

Horticulture / Landscape Supervisor Apprenticeship (L3)

  • RHS apprentices study the horticulture option for this standard, which focuses on plant propagation, growing media, pruning techniques and irrigation
  • Study is completed by block release at college
Available to study at: 
Overview of the role

Land-Based Service Engineering Technician (L3)

  • RHS apprentices will learn how to provide advanced technical support and guidance to the garden teams at RHS Garden Bridgewater. Experience of a wider range of plant and agricultural machinery is undertaken at college. This encompasses electrics, hydraulics, engines and transmissions.
  • Study is completed by block release at college – up to 16 (five-day weeks) weeks per year
Available to study at: 
Overview of the role
Working in the garden

Working in the garden

Apprentices are paid RHS employees on a two or three-year fixed-term contract (depending on apprenticeship).

You will undertake regular rotations through various garden departments assisting RHS staff with a range of tasks in the day-to-day cultivation and maintenance of the garden. Arborist and Engineering apprentices will stay with those specialist teams throughout their apprenticeship.

The working week is 37.5 hours per week, which includes any day or block release to college. Occasional weekend work will be required when key RHS events are taking place.

Each apprentice is assigned a Garden Manager and key contacts within each of the garden’s Curatorial / Education departments.

As an RHS apprentice you will

  • Train to become a gardener or garden supervisor, arborist or land-based service engineer technician (depending on programme) of the future by taking part in a thorough and effective apprenticeship programme
  • Progress and develop in an inspiring learning environment
  • Grow your practical understanding, knowledge and skills at a prestigious RHS Garden
  • Increase your skills, confidence and knowledge to help you to find employment within the horticultural industry after your training has finished

Applications and entry requirements

  • Applicants should demonstrate a passion for either plants, gardening or the area they have chosen to apply for
  • The apprenticeships are aimed primarily at 16–19 year-olds, although are suitable for anyone looking to enter the horticultural industry
  • It is desirable for you to have at least two GCSE qualifications in English/maths/science/IT (or equivalents) for the Level 2 and four GCSE qualifications for the Level 3 apprenticeships. If you do not have English and/or maths GCSE qualifications (or equivalents), you will be required to complete Functional Skills as part of your apprenticeship.
  • Applicants must have the ability to grasp information and apply recently gained knowledge, have a strong interest in plants, horticulture or the relevant subject for their apprenticeship and must have a reasonable standard of IT literacy (use email, Microsoft Word to create documents and the internet to research information).
  • Applicants should take note if their apprenticeship takes place by block release. This method of study requires you to stay away from your home for a minimum of three and up to six working weeks per year. Accommodation, food and transport costs for study blocks at college are funded by the RHS.
  • Full training for the apprenticeship is provided at the relevant RHS Garden and through the college training provider for the duration of the two or three years (as listed above). Please note, time to complete coursework is required in addition to your working hours.
  • You must have the right to work in England to apply for an apprenticeship. UK nationals and those with the right to abode must have been resident in the UK for at least the previous three years prior to the start of the apprenticeship to gain funding. For further information regarding funding for non-UK residents, please contact us by email on schoolofhorticulture@rhs.org.uk.
  • Horticulture / Landscape Operative Apprenticeship at (L2): No previous horticultural experience or qualifications are required. Please note, if you already hold all or part of a Level 2 horticultural qualification you are not eligible for the L2 apprenticeship due to government funding rules.
  • Horticulture / Landscape Supervisor Apprenticeship at (L3): A minimum of three months’ practical, horticultural experience in a professional environment is required. Please note, if you already hold all or part of a Level 3 horticultural qualification you are not eligible for the L3 apprenticeship due to government funding rules.
  • Arborist Apprenticeship (L2): No previous arboricultural experience or qualifications are required. Please note, if you already hold all or part of a Level 2 arboricultural qualification you are not eligible for the L2 apprenticeship due to government funding rules.
  • Land-Based Service Engineering Technician (L3): No previous mechanical experience in a professional environment or qualifications are required. Please note, if you already hold all or part of a Level 3 mechanical engineering qualification you are not eligible for the L3 apprenticeship due to government funding rules.

Applications are now closed

Applications for RHS Apprenticeships for an August 2022 start have now closed.

 

Transport and accommodation

  • Apprentices must find their own way to work, however, each garden will have flexibility in enabling access around public transport
  • Accommodation is not provided for apprentices at any of the RHS Gardens

After your apprenticeship

Apprentices successfully gaining the RHS Apprenticeship certificate have the opportunity to:

Trainer at Wisley

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You might also be interested in...

Learners working in the gardenCampaign for School Gardening logoSchool of Horticulture Ceremony
  • Learner stories: See what our current and past learners have to say about their training at the RHS – read the stories
  • Young horticulturists: Discover more for 11 to 19-year-old gardening enthusiasts – Campaign for School Gardening
  • Supporters: Our work-based training programmes are only possible with funding from our supporters – find out about our supporters

Application dates

Applications are now closed for Students (Diploma), Specialist Horticultural Placement’s (SHPs) at all RHS Gardens and Apprenticeships.

While applications are closed, see what our current and past learners have to say about their training at the RHS.

Find out more

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