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Level 2

Planning and maintaining large gardens, parks and other green spaces

Horticulture Operatives can be employed to work in public parks and gardens, green spaces and historic gardens, private gardens, and estates or in production nurseries and retail outlets.


Many businesses will be specialised in their activities, such as grounds maintenance (soft-landscape). Soft landscaping includes the establishment and maintenance of plants and cultivated areas, focusing on
plant propagation and plant growth.

Work is generally based outside and undertaken throughout the year, so apprentices will frequently work outside in all weathers.


Often people new to the industry will start in a ‘hands-on’ role covering a range of practical tasks, with specialist skills being learnt through progression.


A wide range of machinery and tools are used and additional training may be required depending on the nature of the
works undertaken.

Grey Seal support Horticulture Operatives to have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to deliver on
their responsibilities and personally develop within their role.

They will learn new ideas, theories and methods as well as consolidating existing knowledge and experience.


Having this knowledge and with the support of their Trainer they will have the confidence to put new knowledge into practice.

Included Qualifications


Emergency First Aid: Level 2 award in emergency first aid at work.
Pesticides: Level 2 Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides Guidance OR

Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides
English and Maths: Apprentices without
Level 2 English and Maths must achieve Level 1 and take the test for Level 2 before taking the end-point assessment


Course Design and Training Delivery


The apprentice should produce a portfolio of evidence on-programme that meets the requirements of the training specification. The portfolio should contain employer appraisals, apprentice journal, practical and knowledge tests. 

Delivery will be largely face to face in groups and individual one to ones although also could be supplemented by video conferencing and telephone sessions.


Learners will have an electronic portfolio which could be supplemented with paper based materials as required.

There is additional learning support available for learners that need it, which may take the form of increased one to one support or alternative learning materials






Tools, Equipment and Machinery



Correct tools, equipment and machinery and the importance of maintenance / regular checks of these items. Legal requirement of training by a competent person and
familiarity with operator training and certification requirements


Vegetation Control


How to control vegetation and methods of site clearance and removal of vegetation




Biosecurity and phytosanitary measures for pests and diseases and how these apply
to work sites. Awareness of invasive alien species that may impact work methods


Plan Identification


Plant identification by scientific names including genus, species and cultivar. Know why and how plants are identified


Soil Science


Why, when and how to cultivate soils for differing purposes. Different growing media and mulches. How to modify soils for plant growth and understand the reasons for cultivation and drainage


Plant Health


Basic pest & disease identification/symptoms and control methods

Industry Understanding


The importance and benefits of green-space and the types of horticultural skills appropriate to different businesses and cultural sites





Business policies, vision and values. Workers’ contribution to earning profit and awareness of commercial pressure. Understanding of how project management




The importance of clear communication. Knowledge of different forms of communication aids and their use. The value of effective and timely communication
in customer care


Health and Safety


Health and safety regulation, legislation, policy and procedure and the responsibility of workers. Knowledge of hazards and working to strict health, safety, quality and
environmental (HSQE) processes particularly appropriate to horticultural sites




Waste and waste reduction/recycling and environmental best practice. Prevention and control of local pollution incidents


Plant Growth and Develoment


Plant nutrition and requirements. Principles of germination, photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration (science of plant growth). How to care for plants correctly in different environments. Relationship between environment and growth

Knowlege and Skills 

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Additional knowledge and skills for horticulture

● The range and application of different growing media for plant production and propagation. The
principles and methods of watering techniques including irrigation systems and hand watering

● Ornamental turf management through basic maintenance; including mowing, aeration, scarification,
and top dressing. How to monitor for issues including damage, water issues, pests and diseases

● Ornamental aquatic environments including organic matter control both inside and around the feature
and monitoring for any maintenance or safety issues.

● Undertake correct pruning techniques for a range of plants

● Cultivate and maintain soft-landscape elements e.g. shrubs, trees, herbaceous, bedding, grass areas
and seed. Assist the establishment of an area of turf through laying, irrigation, maintenance, and allowing
appropriate establishment time before use

● Undertake basic propagation skills including division, cuttings, seed sowing and seed collection

● Work without causing damage to features present such as irrigation, turf and aquatic environments




All Trainers are qualified subject specialists with strong experience within the sector. They will use

use a variety of training methods and resources that can include:

● Trainer led group training sessions / workshops face to face or online using video conferencing

● Individual training sessions face to face, telephone or video conferencing

● Resources – paper based, electronic and signposted external resources

● Online portfolio that can be accessed by learner and designated organisational contact

● Virtual learning environment

Individualised approach

● Access to a Trainer through the portfolio, phone, text, email, IM 

● Follow a personalised programme for Maths and English

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