For more than 150 years, the RHS has been offering qualifications inspiring people to grow, either as home gardeners or supporting them to learn in their horticultural career. The RHS is an awarding organisation that is regulated by OFQUAL, with qualifications available from level 1-4. There is also the Master of Horticulture (MHort)degree-level award, which provides flexible learning at an advanced level. The RHS also offers work- based training at four of its prestigious gardens nationwide, through the School of Horticulture.
Applications for the RHS School of Horticulture in 2019 will open in December 2018. This includes opportunities at RHS Rosemoor, Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Wisley for the two-year trailblazer apprenticeship at level 2. One-year specialist student placements and the two-year RHS level 4 programme are also available at Wisley. As these are work-based training programmes, students are paid for the duration of the course. Below are two examples of horticulturists who have progressed their careers via the RHS School of Horticulture.
Beth Hutchinson started out working in a hotel bistro but always had a love of gardening, working on her granddad’s allotment and entering her garden into the National Garden Scheme. Beth applied for an apprenticeship at RHS Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire, and is now on a specialist horticultural placement in nursery and propagation, at RHS Wisley.
Apprentices work across the garden teams at the RHS garden in which they are based. This is combined with learning at a local land-based college as part of their trailblazer apprenticeship. "The best thing about the apprenticeship was being able to work with more knowledgeable horticulturists, so that you could learn from their experience. It’s a rare thing, to be part of a team where everybody works together — managers and staff alike."
While at RHS Harlow Carr, Beth developed a passion for propagation. "The nursery and propagation team work behind the scenes and can sometimes be forgotten about, but our work benefits all the other teams, the garden itself and, of course, the people who visit the gardens."
The two-year level 4 diploma in horticultural practice, offered at RHS Wisley, provides a unique qualification combining practical garden-based learning alongside theoretical elements in the art and science of horticulture. The programme also provides students with the skills and knowledge to undertake a supervisory role within small garden teams.
Jacob Tarr studied architecture at the University of Dundee before moving down to London to work as a photographer. However, what he really wanted was to be outdoors. Jacob enrolled in a part-time RHS level 2 certificate in horticultural theory. He then applied for a casual job in the glasshouse at Wisley and progressed onto RHS level 4.
This course provided Jacob with skills in diverse areas such as propagation, production horticulture, garden design and history, plant trials and specialist garden areas. This experience has provided him with the skills to apply for a role as a glasshouse horticulturist at Wisley, where he now grows ornamental crops for the public to enjoy, displayed in the impressive seasonal planting schemes.
Beth and Jacob both currently work for the Royal Horticultural Society. Why don’t you come and join them and see where your own story leads you?
Applications open 1 December 2018, to start in August-September 2019.
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