Gardening careers - RHS gardens or National trust?

maz776maz776 North WestPosts: 5
Hi, everyone. I was hoping someone here might have some advice on how to secure a job at either an RHS garden or a National Trust garden? This would be a career change after doing freelance design for the last couple of years.
I have studied towards RHS level 2 certificate, I actually need to re-sit 1 unit to make it the full certificate. I have seen some jobs in RHS gardens recently and they require a level 2 qualification and obviously practical experience. As well as having a lifelong interest in gardening, I've been volunteering at a park and historic gardens ( council owned)  for 3 months now.

The RHS garden 'Level 1 Horticulturalist' positions require - "an RHS Level 2 Certificate in Horticulture or equivalent, with proven practical experience in horticulture, which may be acceptable in lieu of a formal qualification."
  Does anyone have any idea what would be sufficient in terms of practical experience? I'm guessing my 3 months probably isn't. I have been thinking of setting up a garden maintenance business to start in the Spring, which I suppose would get me further practical experience whilst I continue to look for my dream job.

Does anyone have any advice or experience in these types of jobs? 
Thanks!

Posts

  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,470
    I suggest you talk to them! 

    They might want a year's full-time experience, they might be happy with less - a key word here is 'proven'. Generally 3 months of volunteering (how often, how long?) probably isn't what they're aiming for, but it might be enough - especially if you've made enough of an impression for your volunteer supervisor to give you a good reference. As with all jobs, it's as much about who else is applying as anything else.

    Talk to them, show you're keen, book yourself in for the February exam to retake the module (ie: show willing) and good luck.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • maz776maz776 North WestPosts: 5
    LG_ said:
    I suggest you talk to them! 

    They might want a year's full-time experience, they might be happy with less - a key word here is 'proven'. Generally 3 months of volunteering (how often, how long?) probably isn't what they're aiming for, but it might be enough - especially if you've made enough of an impression for your volunteer supervisor to give you a good reference. As with all jobs, it's as much about who else is applying as anything else.

    Talk to them, show you're keen, book yourself in for the February exam to retake the module (ie: show willing) and good luck.
    Thanks for that LG. The volunteering is 2 half days per week ( on 2 sites) . I have been trying to arrange to do the exam in Feb. but no replies from the 2 RHS providers in my area, so will have to chase that up. It seems tricky to arrange as an external candidate.



     
  • Mike AllenMike Allen Posts: 47
    Given the outline here.  I have to agree with LG.  During my working life.  I have experienced many applications.  In all honesty.  Most of these certificates remain just bits of paper.

    To sum up prematuly.  My comment is.  Practical experience.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 21,941
    IMHO too many organisations are too fixated with "qualifications"  and dogmatic rules. 
    I'd go freelance, build up your knowledge and experience then you can, as I did, pick and choose the jobs / clients which interest you.
    Devon.
  • maz776maz776 North WestPosts: 5
    Ok thanks, everyone. I will go ahead with my business plans and keep volunteering! 
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 1,493
    If there's an RHS or NT garden near you, they usually have volunteers and it might be a way to increase your experience as well as a chance to make contacts if you decide to go for a paid job with them.
  • maz776maz776 North WestPosts: 5
    JennyJ said:
    If there's an RHS or NT garden near you, they usually have volunteers and it might be a way to increase your experience as well as a chance to make contacts if you decide to go for a paid job with them.

    Hi Jenny. I have enquired today about volunteering at the new RHS Bridgewater near Salford, so I'm applying and will hopefully get a place with them.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 1,493
    Good luck!
    I'm intending to take a trip over there to visit when it's open, maybe in a couple of years when it's had a chance to develop a bit.
  • maz776maz776 North WestPosts: 5
    JennyJ said:
    Good luck!
    I'm intending to take a trip over there to visit when it's open, maybe in a couple of years when it's had a chance to develop a bit.
    Thanks!  Apparently, their tours for the moment are all booked up. Fingers crossed they will accept me as a volunteer and I'll get to see developing.
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,470
    edited 9 August
    Sounds like a brilliant plan :smile: . Don't let it stop you from applying for paid work too though!
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
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