RHS Apprenticeships offer a work-based introduction to the horticultural industry so you can earn while you learn. Apprentices spend two years working alongside our inspiring horticulturists, which gives them 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.
Our apprenticeships will:
- Train the gardeners of the future by delivering an inspiring and effective apprenticeship programme.
- Allow progression and development in the learning environment.
- Provide young adults with practical understanding, knowledge and skills in horticulture.
- Increase skills, confidence and knowledge to help young adults find employment within the horticultural industry after the training has finished.
Apprenticeships are offered at four RHS Gardens
During the two years apprentices work primarily within garden departments and gain hands-on, practical experience. Academic study is completed by a day release to college to study for the RHS Level 2 qualifications. Apprentices will be paid RHS employees on a two-year fixed-term contract.
Applications and entry requirements
- The RHS Apprenticeships are aimed primarily at 16–19 year olds.
- Applicants are required to have two GCSEs at grade C or above, one in English and the other Science.
- Applicants must have the ability to grasp information and apply recently gained knowledge, have an strong interest in plants and horticulture and must have a reasonable standard of IT literacy (use email, Microsoft Word to create documents and the internet to research information).
Applications open on 1 December and close in February for an August start of the same year. For further information, an application form and a job description see the RHS Vacancies site.
Work in the garden
Apprentices undertake regular rotations through various garden departments. They assist with a range of horticultural tasks in the day-to-day cultivation and maintenance of the garden.
The working week is 37.5 hours per week, which includes any day release to college. Occasional weekend work will be required during weekends when key RHS events are taking place.
Each apprentice is assigned a mentor and key contacts within each of the garden’s Curatorial/Educational departments.
Day release studies at college
Apprentices are required to undertake day release study at a local land-based college for each year (college fees will be paid for by the RHS).
First year study
This leads to the RHS Level 2 Certificate in Practical Horticulture and covers the following subject areas:
- Soil testing
- Sowing seeds and vegetative propagation techniques
- Practical skills in ground preparation for seeding and planting
- Practical skills in establishing seeds and plants in soil
- Care and pruning of plants
- Identification of a range of common garden plants, weeds, pests, diseases and disorders and beneficial organisms
Second year study
This leads to the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture and covers the following subject areas:
- Plant classification, structure, and function
- Plant nutrition and the root environment
- Maintaining plant health
- Understanding plant propagation
- Understanding garden features, plant selection and planning
- Understanding the choice, establishment and maintenance of garden plants and lawns
- Understanding the production of outdoor vegetables and fruit
- Understanding protected environments and their use in plant cultivation
Apprentices who successfully achieve both qualifications will additionally be awarded the RHS Level 2 Diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture. RHS apprenticeships are awarded at either a pass or fail grade.
Read more information on the RHS Level 2
Transport and accommodation
- Apprentices must find their own way to work and college; 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:
- Gain employment in the horticulture sector.
- Apply for further study at Level 3 in a land-based college.
- Be eligible to apply to the RHS School of Horticulture for further training and qualifications.
More information for young horticulturists
Our Campaign for School Gardening does not just have information for Primary school children it also has lots of competitions, help and information for 11-19 year old gardening enthusiasts.
More for 11-19’s
Thank you to our supporters
Our work-based training programmes are only possible with funding from our supporters. We are very grateful for the help we have received so far.
Find out more