In 2009, the top three spots at the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition were all taken by graduates of the Certificate in Plantsmanship and Practical Horticulture In 2009, the top three spots at the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition were all taken by graduates of the Certificate in Plantsmanship and Practical Horticulture

Horticultural Training

Each year the Botanic Garden offers six positions on its trainee technician scheme, the Cambridge Certificate in Practical Horticulture and Plantsmanship. Thanks to funding from Perennial, we are now able to offer a seventh training position until 2018 in the first instance.

The Certificate is an open-entry scheme aimed at those wishing to pursue a career in horticulture by gaining practical horticultural experience, but also includes a demanding plantsmanship element that makes the most of the breadth and depth of the Botanic Garden’s collections.

The Certificate runs for one year and starts at the beginning of September. The trainees become members of the Botanic Garden staff, and they are central to our horticultural operations. A salary is paid in the normal way.
The trainees work with, and learn from, experienced Garden staff throughout the year, by rotating between the seven horticultural sections in the Garden: Trees and Shrubs; Demonstration and Display; Systematic Beds; Alpine and Woodland; Experimental; Glasshouse; and, Landscape & Machinery. Rotations take place every 4 to 5 weeks allowing each trainee to gain experience in each section at two different times of the year.

This practical training is augmented by a weekly programme of lectures and demonstrations exploring plant diversity, basic taxonomic training and plant identification. Visits to other gardens and sites of botanical significance are also organised. Trainees present two essays during the year, as well as logs of their practical activities.

Trainees who successfully complete the one-year scheme are awarded a Certificate of Higher Education in Practical Horticulture and Plantsmanship by the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, which works closely with the Botanic Garden. This award attracts 120 CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme).

This is a training opportunity, open to those who are committed to gaining or furthering their experience, and pursuing a career in horticulture. Entry qualifications are negotiable and relate to the individual’s circumstances, education and experience. Some experience of growing plants and of practical horticulture is essential, whether as an amateur or a professional. This is an open-entry scheme for which any adult may apply. Applicants should:

• Be able to demonstrate that they are motivated and committed to pursuing a career in horticulture.
• Be committed to furthering their experience in practical horticulture, plantsmanship and collection curation.
• Demonstrate an understanding of how a Botanic Garden and its collections differ from other horticultural establishments.
• Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of horticultural practice, theory and plant knowledge.
• Preferably have, or be undertaking, a minimum basic horticultural qualification e.g. RHS General Certificate in Horticulture.

We advertise for the new intake of trainees around Christmas/New Year each year on this website, with interviews held in April. The Certificate begins in September.