Horticulture & Landscape Operative | Intermediate Apprenticeship

20-24 months
Next course start
October 2024 (+3 start dates)
Course delivery
20-24 months
Next course start
October 2024 (+3 start dates)
Course delivery
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Course description

Launch your career with a Horticulture and Landscape Operative apprenticeship programme. Develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in this vocational industry, where you can expect to build and maintain horticultural spaces in areas such as parks, green spaces and other areas. Study a Level 2 qualification while you work.

As a horticultural or landscape operative apprentice, you'll learn to create and maintain horticultural spaces, including both the soft aspects (plants and soil) and the hard aspects (surfaces, features, and structures). Depending on your job role and your employment, you may carry out a full range of operations from landscape construction through to maintenance or specialise.

Employers may be charities, commercial businesses or public sector organisations and range in size from micro businesses through to large employers. Many organisations will be specialised in their activities, such as grounds maintenance or landscape construction.

Our Level 2 Horticulture and Landscape Operative apprenticeship delivers on-the-job training and vocational qualifications to ensure you work competently and confidently in your chosen sector developing the right knowledge, skills and behaviours to put you in good stead at the beginning of your career.

You can choose between the Horticulture pathway or Landscaping pathway, depending on your job role.

Upcoming start dates

Choose between 3 start dates

October 2024

  • Classroom
  • Chelmsford

February 2025

  • Classroom
  • Chelmsford

May 2025

  • Classroom
  • Chelmsford

Suitability - Who should attend?

Entry requirements

In addition to any person specifications set out by your employer, these are the entry requirements for the course.

  • Employment in a suitable role on a permanent contract exceeding 30 hours per week.
  • Either Level 2 in Maths and English; or Level 1 in Maths and English and willingness to study at Level 2*.
  • Employer support to undertake this course.
  • Confirmed eligibility to be funded as an apprentice as set out within the ESFA’s Funding Rules.
  • A completed Initial Needs Assessment Form.

You must be physically fit and happy to work outside in all weather conditions. You may need to travel long distances as a part of some jobs.

Training Course Content

Course content

  • Assess, repair and maintain hard structures
  • Biosecurity
  • Business
  • Communication and customer care
  • Cultivate and maintain soft landscape elements
  • Free hand cutting and bench cutting of landscape materials
  • Health and safety
  • Install hard landscape features
  • Tools, equipment and machinery
  • Interpretation of drawings
  • Ornamental turf management
  • Plant health
  • Plant identification
  • Planting, plant growth and development
  • Propagation and growing media for plant production
  • Pruning
  • Set out site and site preparation
  • Soil science and cultivation
  • Use of abrasive wheels
  • Water feature construction
  • Vegetation control
  • Watering techniques

Course delivery details

Course highlights

  • Work in a large and diverse sector that offers opportunities in areas such as public parks and gardens, green spaces, schools, tourist attractions, business and retail parks, historic gardens, private gardens, and estates.
  • Progression route to Advanced Level 3Horticulture and Landscape Supervisor to advance your career.
  • Gain on-the-job experience and qualifications whilst employed and earning a wage.

An apprenticeship is a job with training, combining practical experience with vocational learning.

At least 20% of your contracted working hours will be classed as 'off-the-job'. This time will be dedicated to developing the knowledge and skills needed to meet the requirements of the apprenticeship, and therefore is not part of your usual work duties.

The off-the-job learning will be delivered through on-campus learning sessions and activities, and practical learning experiences in your usual work setting.

The off-the-job learning for our Horticulture and Landscape Operative Intermediate Apprenticeship is delivered through workshops at Writtle College.

Examples of some of the topics you may cover (depending on pathway) are listed below.


Throughout your on-the-job training you will develop a portfolio to demonstrate your core knowledge, skills and behaviours and be assessed throughout your training. You must also either already have maths and English at level 2 or obtain these prior to the end-point-assessment.

You will also undertake an End Point Assessment (EPA) to complete your apprenticeship. The EPA for this apprenticeship consists of three parts: i. Practical assessment with questions; ii. Multiple-choice test; iii. Professional discussion underpinned by a portfolio of evidence.

Depending on the pathway, you will also gain the following certification:

Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work (Ofqual registered).

Horticulture pathway - City and Guilds Level 2 Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides AND City and Guilds Level 2 Award in The Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Handheld Equipment.

Landscaping Pathway – Abrasive Wheel qualification.

Why choose Writtle University College

Ranked Top University-Sector Institution in East Anglia for overall student satisfaction!

*Based on NSS 2022 Based on Taught Data

Beautiful rural campus situated close to the city of Chelmsford, 40 minutes from London and the coast.


Apprenticeships are fully funded by your employer and the Government

Continuing Studies


Upon successful completion of the apprenticeship, you will have a Level 2 Horticulture and Landscape Operative apprenticeship as well as a minimum of 20 months' relevant work experience. The skills, knowledge and experience you develop during the course will open a wide range of roles in the horticulture and/or landscaping sector.

Some typical job titles include gardener, grounds maintenance operative, horticulturalist, and landscaper.

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Writtle University College
Writtle University College, Lordship Road
CM1 3RR Chelmsford Essex

Welcome to Writtle College! Writtle College, a further education provider, now part of ARU, is located at the ARU Writtle campus on the outskirts of Chelmsford, Essex. We offer a wide range of exciting courses in land-based, creative and sports...

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