Information for Parents

New Shoots is the RHS’ nationwide initiative to promote horticultural careers and to increase the number and diversity of people entering the sector

Horticultural Work Experience at the RHS

Discover an enriching opportunity for teenagers with our work experience programmes across a wealth of horticulture-related roles! Our week-long work experience placements for Years 10 to 12 are designed to provide an immersive experience that goes beyond the classroom and opens doors to exciting possibilities. Participants will get the chance to observe real-life work environments, have a go at hands-on practical tasks while supervised by professionals with ample opportunity to ask any questions they may have. 

Want to know more about the programme?

Work Experience opportunities at the RHS

Learn about the Work Experience opportunities available at the RHS

Where could it lead
Our work experience programmes are not only about gaining practical experience but also serve as a window into potential future paths. Whether it helps young people choose their subjects in school or college, or sparks an interest in the apprenticeships we offer at the RHS, these experiences can open their eyes to exciting green career possibilities in a thriving sector. 
What they will need
A passion for plants and the outdoors is the most central requirement. In addition to this, practical clothing suitable for the time of year is required, and a water bottle is useful in the warmer months as teams often work at a distance from the nearest drinking fountain. For certain roles, safety boots and gloves will be provided for the duration of the placement, and we can help with outdoor clothing subject to availability. 
What they will do

Students shadow our experts during their daily tasks, and occasionally work alongside team members. Our work experience programmes focus on all horticulture-related roles at the RHS, such as working with our gardening teams, the Science department, visitor services, retail, and education. 

Typical working days start at 8.30am and end around 3.30pm; however, individual teams have different start times, so please check with the placement coordinator prior to the first day. Lunch breaks are usually between 12 and 1pm but can vary according to team. Staff fridges for packed lunches are provided in break areas and public catering outlets are available on site. Please note that our cafes are available to our visitors too, so they can become very busy over the lunch period. 

What they will gain
In addition to gaining valuable insights into the RHS environment and our work, young people will develop essential skills and hands-on experience under the guidance of our experts. This opportunity provides them with a clearer understanding of various career paths in horticulture and the exciting prospects available for further growth. 
How will they get here
Our gardens are easily accessed by car or taxi. Both Wisley and Bridgewater operate shuttle buses at certain times of the year. Please advise us on your application if travel costs are a concern, as we may be able to offer additional support in certain circumstances. 
How we keep students safe
Your school will coordinate risk assessments with us and check insurance cover and safeguarding policies. For placements outside of term, your placement coordinator will get in touch with you with the relevant information and parental consent forms. 
How we support SEND students

The RHS is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and New Shoots aims to increase the number of individuals choosing horticultural careers and the diversity within the industry. We recognise that Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) represents a broad spectrum, and we are actively supporting individuals through our programmes with various reasonable adjustments. However, if you or someone you are supporting has complex additional requirements, please get in touch with us at [email protected] to discuss which programme might be most suitable, as we may not always be able to support all additional requirements, depending on the activity being requested. 

For example, we are not able to place individuals with complex additional needs as part of our work experience programmes in our Curatorial (gardens) teams due to the complexity and physicality of the tasks the team regularly carry out while operating in a high-risk environment. We therefore assess placement opportunities for SEND students on an individual basis to ensure we can offer the appropriate level of support needed. 

Supporting a young person during a work-based training experience:

Supporting young people during a work-based training experience is crucial for their development and success. Here are some ways you can offer support: 

  • Open Communication: Keep an open line of communication. Ask about their experiences, challenges, and achievements. Offer a supportive and non-judgmental space for them to share their thoughts and concerns
  • Help with Transportation and Logistics Support: Ensure your child has a reliable means of transportation to and from the workplace. Help them plan their commute if necessary
  • Discuss Workplace Etiquette: Review the basics of workplace etiquette, such as punctuality, appropriate clothing, and effective communication
  • Acknowledge Achievements: Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can boost their confidence and motivation
  • Stay Informed: Stay informed about any requirements or expectations from the employer. Be aware of any updates or changes during the work experience placement

The goal is to help them gain independence, confidence, and valuable skills during their work experience. By providing the right support, you contribute to their personal and professional development 

How to apply

To apply for Work Experience, applicants will need to fill in our online Expression of Interest form for schools work experience:  If they are under the age of 16, a parent or teacher is necessary to help them complete the application form.  

Please note: The work experience application portal is provided by Better Impact on behalf of RHS. When applying for work experience, you are leaving the RHS website, and will be governed by both the RHS and Better Impact’s privacy notices. Please read both privacy notices before you apply. 

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.