RHS Garden Wisley Horticultural Internships

Gain practical experience by working alongside our skilled horticulturists and learn by doing

The RHS is looking to support the wider horticultural industry in addressing the skills shortage of trained horticulturists. Our established Diploma course, Professional Work Placements and Apprentice scheme are supporting both existing and new horticulturists to increase their skillset, and grow their horticultural careers. However, the RHS recognises that individuals who are new to the industry and considering, or just embarking on, entry-level horticultural qualifications need supporting to develop their practical experience. Therefore, piloting at RHS Garden Wisley in 2024 we will be hosting a small number of part-time horticultural internships within some of our Curatorial teams. 

The internship will take place between the end of March 2024 and complete no later than the end of October 2024. As part of the RHS initiative to support a greater diversity of people accessing horticultural careers, we will be offering these internships as paid opportunities in two options. We hope this will provide as much flexibility as possible to those who may be in full time education, or working full, or part, time.

Option 1

  • Starting end of March attend one day per week until late October
  • Days available will be either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and will need to be consistent throughout the internship (we recognise that occasionally life may require some flexibility)
  • Hours 9:30am – 4pm, including a 1 hour lunchbreak

Option 2

  • A six week placement Monday – Friday
  • Option to complete six weeks split across one week during Spring half-term, four weeks over summer and one week in October half-term
  • Hours 9:30am – 4pm, including a 1 hour lunchbreak

At application you can indicate which option you would prefer – depending on the option you choose and team availability we cannot confirm what team/specialism you will be placed with until you are offered a place.

What you’ll do
By working as part of our teams, you will observe seasonal practical horticultural tasks, curating and maintaining ornamental or edible horticulture within a large public garden setting. You will also experience the reality of working outdoors in whatever the weather throws at you, and witness how the teams are using horticultural techniques to adapt our gardens to be resilient to climate change and support the ambitious RHS Sustainability Strategy.
Where could it lead
The internship will not provide a qualification or a guarantee of further employment, however you will have three mentoring sessions with the New Shoots team during your internship where you can discuss learning objectives and discuss career next steps. You will be tasked to produce a short presentation focussed on your discoveries about horticultural careers, and deliver this to the New Shoots team before the end of the programme. You will also log your hours, which together with the presentation will provide you with a portfolio of evidence you can take away and use in the next steps of your career.
What you’ll need
The internship is designed to provide a stepping stone for individuals who are new to the industry to explore a green career. You are eligible to apply if:
  • You are aged 16 and above
  • You have not completed a full entry-level (level 2) horticultural qualification, though you may have started one
  • You are not currently employed in a full time horticultural position, though you may already volunteer in the sector
  • You do have a passion and enthusiasm for plants and the natural word, and want to explore a career in the art, science or practice of horticulture
  • You do have a can-do attitude and are reasonably physically fit to manage working in a physically demanding role
If you are employed in the horticultural industry and want to further your career, please check out our advanced training options here or available roles here.

We aim to increase the diversity of individuals able to access horticultural careers and therefore welcome applications from individuals from all backgrounds. Please be aware that the internship will involve physically demanding work in an outdoor setting through a variety of seasons – therefore, whilst we will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments where possible, we may not be able to do so in all cases or for complex additional needs. If you wish to speak to someone about your circumstances before applying please get in touch at [email protected].

You will be treated as part of the team, and in return we will require you to represent the RHS in a professional and respectful manner to other staff, visitors to the garden and the wider public. Detailed expectations will be set during a full induction.
What you’ll get

During the internship you will work alongside our team of skilled horticulturists and be able to demonstrate that you have increased your depth of understanding of horticultural careers at one of the world’s great gardens. We will support you to develop your soft skills in research and presentation by developing a presentation on what you discover about horticultural careers, as well as receiving regular mentoring sessions with the New Shoots team. You will then be able to use this as evidence of your experience to either support applications for further study, or apply for horticultural roles/training in the wider industry. In addition, you will:

  • Receive uniform to wear during your internship (tops for all seasons, safety boots and gloves – you will need to provide your own trousers)
  • Staff discount in our on-site catering outlets and our gift shop and plant centre
  • Free access to RHS Gardens across the UK for yourself
  • You will be receive an hourly rate in line with UK minimum/living wage dependent on your age and subject to tax for a maximum of 5.5 hours per day (an hour unpaid lunch break will be included in the working hours)

Next steps

Applications will open at the beginning of December 2023 and the window to apply will close on the 14 January 2023. Candidates will be shortlisted and requested to attend an online interview in mid-February 2024. To apply you will need to complete this application form.

Successful candidates will be informed before mid-February and an invitation to induction provided for the end of March.  

Hear from our participants

Contact us
For more information or if you have a question, please get in touch with the New Shoots team. 

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.