Course Information

Where is the course delivered?

  • Cannington Centre

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for students who wish to develop a comprehensive overview of the horticulture industry - encompassing practical techniques and technical skills. It will prepare you for a range of careers in supervisory and management positions. Alternatively, it provides an ideal progression route to Higher Education and degree courses in Horticulture, Landscape Management and Garden Design.

What does the course involve?

The course is divided into a number of modules which will include:

Year 1:

  • Health and Safety: This unit offers an opportunity to develop knowledge of legislation, risk assessments, first aid and handling equipment.
  •  Plant Identification, Selection & Planting of Plants: You will learn to identify plants, identify how they might be used within the landscape as well as the practical planting of a range of plant stock.
  •  Maintain Turf in Parks & Gardens: This largely practical unit will include the maintenance requirement of lawns using hand tools and machinery, as well as the establishment of wildflower meadows
  •  Land Based Machinery Operations: A practical-based unit which will cover the preparation, use and maintenance of land-based machinery including mowers, hedgetrimmers, brushcutters and woodchippers.
  •  Plant Health and Protection: This key unit covers the Identification, Biology and Control of Weeds, Pests, Diseases and Disorders. This unit will prepare you for the NPTC PA1 Award in Safe Use of Pesticides, which could be undertake for an additional assessment fee.
  •  Plant and Soil Science: A detailed overview of the key biological plant processes as well as plant anatomy. This unit provides learners with the essential knowledge to manage plants across a range of Horticultural areas.
  • Principles and Practice of Garden Design: You will develop skills in landscape design including the use of Computer Aided Design (CAD), which you will utilise to design and build a show garden.
  •  Outdoor Crop Production: You will plan, prepare and manage an outdoor production plot through which you will develop the skills and knowledge of outdoor production techniques.
  • Site Surveying, Levelling and Setting Out: You will develop both an understanding and practical application of land surveying. This unit complements the Principles and Practice of Garden Design.

Year 2

  • Estate Skills: You will develop core practical skills in walling, paving and fencing, as well as undertaking a wide range of other horticultural tasks.
  •  Tree and Shrub Maintenance: This unit will develop your knowledge and practical skills in pruning and maintaining trees and shrubs.  
  •  Business Management: Develop key skills in managing and running a business including marketing, finance and quality management.
  •  Specialist Project: This unit allows you the opportunity to undertake a specific project through which you can investigate an area of Horticulture that interests you such as Hydroponics, Aquaponics and Growing Trials.
  • Protected Crop Production: You will produce crops under protection as well as in our modern Hydroponics and Aquaponics growing systems, gaining an understanding of the latest Horticultural crop production techniques.
  •  Propagation: A practical unit through which you will study the propagation and cloning of plants. You will produce a range of plants over the year, which will then be sold in the Walled Gardens of Cannington Plant Sales
  • Construct Horizontal Landscape Surfaces: This practical unit will cover the construction of rigid paving, flexible surfaces and steps.
  •  Garden History: You will develop knowledge of influences on garden design, garden styles and plant introductions into the UK.
  •  Organic Crop Production: This unit will provide you with an understanding of organic crop production and how it can be applied in practice. 

What makes this course special?

  • The practical elements of the course are delivered in the atmospheric setting of the ancient Walled Gardens of Cannington
  • Course tutors and lecturers are all professional practitioners and students are encouraged to participate in building show gardens at other local and national gardening shows
  • Students carry out duties in the College grounds to enhance practical skills taught in classes
  • The opportunity to develop your skills in specific areas through completing 150 hours of work experience per year, totalling 300 hours for the course.
  • Regular trips and visits to RHS Gardens, National Trust properties, local growers and nurseries.
  • Horticultural Scholarships are available to support learners throughout their studies. 

Placements/Work Placements

  • 300 hours over the duration of the course(150 Hours per year)
  • Normally placements are carried out for one day per week and there is also the opportunity for a block placement in the spring term
  • Students will be supported in finding their placement, but we would encourage students to seek a provider independently in the first instance
  • National Trust Gardens, landscaping companies, public gardens

Entry Requirements

  • A Level 2 qualification in horticulture or equivalent achieved at a minimum of Merit grade
  • Five GCSEs in the A* – C range, including English and maths
  • Entry is also subject to a successful interview

What are the assessment methods?

  • Practical Assessments
  • Written Examinations
  • Written Assignments
  • Presentations
  • Projects

How long is the course?

  • Two years. Please note this is a two year course and there will be additional fees in the second year.
  • There is a one year Level 3 option available. 

What are the College attendance requirements?

  • 16 hours per week over 36 weeks
  • Recommended 8-10 hours per week should be spent on self-directed study
  • Recommended 1 day per week to complete the minimum 150 hours’ work experience(over course of the year)

Are there any additional costs for the course?

  • Clothing appropriate for practical work including steel toe capped boots, overalls, gloves & waterproof jacket £70 - 100
  • Secateurs £15 - 20
  • Field trips £40

What are the progression options?

Progression to

  • Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Level 5 HND Horticulture

Employment within

  • Landscape gardening
  • Local authority parks department
  • Private Gardens
  • Plant Nurseries
  • Commercial Growers
  • Garden Design


Previous students have gained employment in the following areas: Sales Manager at HortiFeeds, Self-Employed Landscape Gardener, Gardener at Greenslades Ground Maintenance Ltd, Studying a Degree in Landscape Architecture at Gloucestershire University. 

Awarding Body

City and Guilds

Course Details

Further Information