Courses and Qualifications & Funding
There’s a huge range of courses available to people who are interested in becoming gardeners, from workshops at local gardens, to formal courses with recognised qualifications. The courses suit all levels of interest and time commitments.
The RHS General Certificate in Horticulture
One of the most widely-available courses is the RHS General Certificate in Horticulture, which is aimed at both the career gardener and the dedicated amateur.A list of colleges which run the course can be found on the Royal Horticultural Society's website at www.rhs.org.uk.
BTEC First Diploma Award
This is an introductory course which can be taken by school leavers or adults with no previous experience but who wish to gain vocational experience and raise their academic standards to the equivalent of four GCSE grades A to C. It allows entry to a BTEC National Diploma or to employment in the industry.
National (and Scottish) Vocational Qualifications are awarded for demonstration of competence rather than academic achievement: if you provide the necessary evidence, you are awarded a qualification for the tasks you perform in the workplace. All the tutoring and assessment is carried out at your workplace, though it is also possible to study at a college. This could be on a part-time or day release basis.
For more information about NVQs, visit the NVQ website at www.dfes.gov.uk/nvq or for information about SVQs visit the SVQ website at www.sqa.org.uk
The Workers' Educational Association
A number of daytime and evening courses are available on a wide range of aspects of gardening at centres in every region of England and in Scotland.The main website allows you to search for courses in a particular area or town. You can also request information from your nearest district office by post or email. Each region produces leaflets for each season of courses. Available subjects do vary from region to region.
For more information visit www.wea.org.uk
City and Guilds
City and Guilds is the leading provider of vocational qualifications in the UK. Courses are widely available. Check their website for information about courses leading to qualifications on a scale of levels, starting from a Certificate in Gardening or Horticulture Skills Tests.
For more information visit www.city-and-guilds.co.uk
Here are some organisations who can provide financial assistance and advice.
The Chartered Institute of Horticulture (CIH)
The Chartered Institute of Horticulture (CIH) provides information and links to organisations that provide grant aid to individual horticulturists. For more information visit www.horticulture.org.uk
Historic and Botanic Gardens Bursary Scheme.
This scheme, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, provides practical training for gardeners in UK historic gardens. For more information visit www.hbgtp.org.uk.