Apply for a horticulture apprenticeship at the Eden Project

June 22, 2012
Author: Hannah

If you’re searching for a practical horticulture training course, we’re currently on the lookout for apprentices to join us at our world famous gardens in September 2012.

The 12-month course, in association with Cornwall’s Duchy College, give budding gardeners the chance to learn while they earn, and to get under their belt a Level 2 Diploma in Work Based Horticulture.

The horticulture apprenticeship offers participants the opportunity to:

  • Gardener in front of the Eden Project's Biomeget paid while they learn, with a training allowance provided by Eden – thanks to the Finnis Scott Foundation
  • receive quality advice and support from Eden’s experienced horticultural team as well as one day a week’s formal training with Duchy College
  • gain a qualification widely recognised within the industry – a Level 2 Diploma in Work Based Horticulture (formerly known as NVQ), considered to be equivalent to five good GCSEs. One of our current apprentices, Katie McBride, has just scooped the coveted Institute of Horticulture Prize.
  • learn the craft on the job, with stints in different areas of our gardens, including the outer estate, the outdoor gardens, the Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes, the nursery and even our temporary displays.

The practical side of the course, based at Eden, will see apprentices doing everything from tending tropical plants such as coffee and bananas to harvesting vegetables in our Global Gardens allotments to getting their hands dirty on our wild outer estate.

How to apply
Visit our careers pages to download an application form, which must be completed and submitted by 6 July 2012.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the apprenticeship criteria?
The apprenticeship is open to EU citizens aged 16 or over. We encourage people to apply no matter what stage of their life they are in. If you are from outside the UK, remember to check necessary visa requirements, which can be found on the UK Border Agency website.

Do I need to have any previous qualifications or experience?
You do not need to have any previous qualifications. Horticultural/gardening experience would be an advantage, although this is not essential provided that there is a high level of motivation displayed.

What will I gain from doing a Horticulture Apprenticeship at the Eden Project?
You will learn skills from enthusiastic and experienced horticulturists. The skills really are the key ones to start you off in horticulture and gardening so that you can build on them yourself, with confidence. The course structure allows you to practice each skillset. It is predominantly a practical course, where students gain hands-on horticulture experience. You will receive a combination of both practical and theoretical learning, which will get you ready to progress further in your career.

What topics does the course cover? What range of on the job training can I expect?
You would have a group of mandatory units taught one day per week at Duchy College, for example: Establish decorative amenity areas; Identify the health and maintain the condition of general amenity turf; Monitor and maintain health and safety; Levelling and preparing sites for landscaping; Plant terminology and identification etc. These units may vary year to year. At Eden (and for the remaining four days out of the week) you would receive on the job training rotated through the various horticultural teams including the Rainforest Biome, Outdoor Biome, Mediterranean Biome, Outer Estate, Nursery, Temporary Display and Science team.

Will I need to pay any fees to do the course?
As a rule of thumb, as long as you have not gained a higher qualification than a Level 2 Diploma (previously NVQ Level 2) then there is no fee. Please contact Claire Bennetts, Generic Liaison Officer, Training Agency, Duchy College who can give you more up to date information on fees: 01209 722109 or

I don’t live locally. Would there be a possibility of getting accommodation or getting help to afford accommodation if I was to be accepted?
There is a salary for this apprenticeship, and many people have moved from other places to take up the position. In 2012, the salary was £2.68 per hour, rising to £3.75 an hour after 3 months (the salary rate is the same for all apprentices and is not age-dependant). The salary is there to cover accommodation and living costs and we are not aware of any additional bursaries. Occasionally, self-catering accommodation is available within our Nursery bungalow, which was £125 per month (including all utility costs) in 2012.

I’ve just missed the deadline to apply this year. Is there any chance you might accept a late application?
Due to high number of applications we receive each year, we can’t accept late applications.

I can’t see any information available for the apprenticeship this year. Will it be running? If so, where can I find out about it?
We tend to start advertising in June (September 2013 start) for the Apprentices, so please keep an eye on our website from May onwards. You can also sign up to our vacancy alerts.

What have previous apprentices gone on to do?
Most of our previous apprentices have gone on to gain employment or further training in a garden or botanic garden such as at Kew or RHS.

Where can I find detailed information on horticulture apprenticeships or careers in horticulture?
There is a really good page about horticultural apprenticeships on the Grow website which you might find helpful.

You can also click here for useful information and advice about careers in Horticulture, which will also list other apprenticeship opportunities around the country.

Do you offer any other horticultural courses?
We also offer a number of short-term leisure learning courses and the Eden Project/Royal Botanic Garden Certificate in Practical Horticulture. You can find more information here.

Education, Horticulture
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12 responses to Apply for a horticulture apprenticeship at the Eden Project

  1. Ashley Moody says:

    Is this open for non Britain citizens – specifically I am asking if a United States citizen would be able to apply for this apprenticeship.

  2. Hannah says:

    Hi Ashley, I’m afraid it’s open to British citizens only.

  3. ellie says:

    What are the apprenticeship criteria? dont want to apply if i dont fit them!

  4. Hannah says:

    Ellie, the apprenticeship is open to UK citizens aged 16 or over.

  5. daryn says:

    this looks extremely appealing as i have already done a landscape and design BTEC in high-school and spent the last two summers working at Farleigh court golf club as a greenskeeper. My only problem would be that i live in london would there be a possibility of getting accommodation or getting help to afford accommodation if i was to be accepted

  6. Hannah says:

    Daryn, there is a training allowance for this apprenticeship, and many people have moved from other places to take up the position. Hope this helps.

  7. daryn says:

    it does thanks

  8. Briony says:

    I already have a NC & ND Horticulture qualifications and awaiting my first year Degree in Garden Design. Would the college recognise these qualifications from previous courses and would it effect the level 2 diploma?

  9. Sam Jackson says:

    Oh, I’m so disappointed I’ve only just found your horticulture apprenticeship! I know you said that the application form should be completed and returned by 6th July, but is there any chance you might accept another?!
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    In haste,

  10. Hannah says:

    The interviews were today Sam, so we very much doubt it. But we have passed your details on to the team, who will be in touch with you tomorrow.

  11. laura says:

    I was just wondering if this scheme will be running this year?

  12. Hannah says:

    Thanks for your interest in our one year training course (Horticulture Apprenticeship). We tend to start advertising in June (September 2013 start) for the Apprentices, so please keep an eye on our website from May onwards.

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