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Change of career

Good evening

Sorry can't see previous posts of this kind.

I'm reassessing my future. In the past couple of years I've thrown myself into gardening and developed a passion but this is the only experience I have.
I am into 20 years service for emergency services and this isn't something I can end and move into education, not in this financial climate.

I've looked at jobs online and rather than saying what experience they require, it's a case of sending in your CV so I'm none the wiser. When I speak to nurseries they say to have a chat with the boss when a position becomes available.

Do most applicants have a formal qualification? Are there any courses/qualifications worth a glance?
Is there by chance apprenticeship programmes available for over 35s? 
Are there any other routes into gardening / horticultural worth noting?


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,685

    I believe they are open to anyone.

    The Kew certificate is highly prized, but competition to get in is stiff.

  • Hi penelope.amy. Sharing a few links I've been looking at - hope they're of use. I'm in a very similar position to you (with a few extra years on me I think). I'm not sure if it's a realistic move for me, but I'm still looking into it.
    The Professional Gardeners' Trust « (
    Gardening Qualifications (
    Join the WFGA – WFGA

    And of course there are the RHS qualifications. You can actually do them on-line - which seems a bit counter-intuitive to me. 

    Good luck - I hope you get there!
    It's knowing what to do with things that counts - Robert Frost
  • gondorgondor Posts: 135
    edited June 2022
    I was listening to the Gardener's Corner podcast (NI) recently who spoke to a student who had been chosen as part of her studies to do a garden for one of the shows. They were talking about how to encourage new people to enter horticulture, but ultimately when you are in a well paid job like yours (although highly stressful and underpaid as you might think) it's really hard to try something new because life/society forces us to continue to pay for our own existence with a very high cost of living.
    Therefore horticulture will stay the preserve of the posh/rich people who can afford to pay for the studies and live in flats etc for the rest of their lives. Like most of the people who are on the TV/radio/podcasts for gardening related things. Unless you're of the older generation like Monty who lives on a vast estate.
    If I were you, I'd look at high paid jobs which will allow you to pursue the horticulture on the side, eventually saving up enough to go full time.
    Apprentice train driver, for example, minimum £20-30k training salary rising to £50-£70k when qualified, depending on the company
    Bear in mind that you need to be ok with shift work and dedicated an initial period of studying to qualify.
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