Garden nursery assistant

Horticultural assistant, garden centre worker

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Garden nursery assistants grow plants in nurseries and garden centres, and advise and serve customers.

Salary range: £13,000 to £19,000

How to become a garden nursery assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

College

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Horticulture
  • Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You can get into this job through a horticultural and landscape operative intermediate apprenticeship.

You can also do a packhouse line leader advanced apprenticeship, if you’re working on a horticultural production line, for example picking and packing plants and flowers to order.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

You could apply directly for jobs in a nursery or garden centre. There are no set requirements but employers will expect you to have a keen interest in plants and horticulture. Experience or qualifications in gardening, horticulture or retail work would be helpful.

More information

Further information

You can get more advice about careers in horticulture from Grow Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to work on your own
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • persistence and determination
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • loading and unloading deliveries
  • pruning, shaping and spacing plants
  • weeding, watering and feeding
  • potting seedlings
  • monitoring plant health and quality
  • re-stocking plant displays
  • serving customers
  • picking and packing orders for delivery

Working environment

You could work at a garden centre.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience you could become a nursery supervisor.

You may be able to move into horticultural technician work or garden centre management by completing industry qualifications like those from the Royal Horticultural Society.

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