Canterbury College - Horticulture/Landscape Construction Operative Apprenticeship
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Essential information
Qualification: Horticulture/Landscape Construction Operative Level 2
Weekly hours: 30 - 40 hours, including time at college.
Location: Workplace, and Spring Lane Campus 1 day a week.
Duration: 24 months + 3 months EPA

Horticulture/Landscape Construction Operative Apprenticeship

Role Profile 

This occupation is found in a wide range of outdoor spaces with horticultural spaces including public parks and gardens, green spaces, schools, tourist attractions, business and retail parks, historic gardens, private gardens, and estates. Some organisations own the horticultural space such as public gardens and private estates. Some will work on a variety of spaces belonging to other people such as domestic gardens, construction sites, retail and business parks. Employers may be charities, commercial businesses or governmental 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.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to undertake practical operations required to create and maintain horticultural spaces. This includes both the soft aspects (plants and soil) and the hard elements (surfaces, features and structures). Some will carry out the full range of operations from landscape construction through to maintenance, although the majority will focus on one specialism due to the breadth of skills required. Horticultural specialists maintain soft and hard elements of the space. This will include planting and maintenance activities. Landscape construction specialists will install landscapes including building hard surfaces, structures and features and planting.  This will include planting and maintenance activities. Horticulture or landscape construction operatives frequently work outdoors year-round and in all weathers. They sometimes work at heights for example pruning taller plants and hedges. Horticulture or landscape operatives will require qualifications and or training to undertake activities such as use of machinery.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with supervisors and colleagues. Depending upon the employer they will interact with clients, members of the public, other trades and landowners.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for completing their own work to specification, with minimal supervision, ensuring they meet set deadlines. They are responsible for meeting quality requirements and working in accordance with legislation, environmental, health, safety and welfare considerations. They are accountable for the health and safety of themselves and others. Horticulture or landscape operatives are responsible for checking their tools, equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) are maintained and safe to use. They report to supervisors, team leaders, head gardeners or clients.


Course Information 

Apprentices will develop the following, skills, knowledge and behaviours: 

  • Industry understanding; the importance and benefits of green-space and the types of horticultural skills appropriate to different businesses and cultural sites. 
  • Business; business policies, vision and values. Workers’ contribution to earning profit and awareness of commercial pressure. Understanding of how project management informs a team to achieve objectives.  
  • Communication; the importance of clear communication.  
  • 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. 
  • Environmental; waste and waste reduction and recycling and environmental best practice. Prevention and control of local pollution incidents. 
  • Plant growth and development; plant nutrition and plant requirements. The principles of germination, photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration (the science of plant growth). How to care for plants correctly in different environments. The relationship between environmental conditions and plant growth. 
  • Tools, equipment and machinery; correct tools, equipment and machinery required for the job and the importance of maintenance and regular checks of these items to ensure they remain in good working order. 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; 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. 
  • Plant identification; plant identification by scientific names including genus, species and cultivar. Know why and how plants are identified. 
  • Soil science including soil cultivation; 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 and disease identification and symptoms and control methods. 
  • Tools, equipment and machinery; safely use tools  
  • Maintain hard structures; maintain structures relevant to the business activities. 
  • Site presentation; work to a specified finish. 


Model of Delivery 

We must ensure that an apprentice spends the required minimum of contracted working hours developing the skills, knowledge and behaviours illustrated on the Standard. This is achieved via a flexible approach and also by using learning that occurs as part of the job role within the workplace:

  • Regular Trainer visits at workplace 
  • Reviews in the workplace with Line Manager and Trainer every 8 – 10 weeks 
  • College workshop sessions with lecturer once a week - Spring Lane 


End Point Assessment 

End-Point Assessment is the final test for apprentices during their apprenticeship. It is designed to be an objective and impartial assessment of an apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours.  At the end of an apprenticeship, the apprentice will go through a 'gateway' process where they are signed-off by their employer as ready for a final assessment of their knowledge and practical capabilities. The assessment will be conducted and graded by an independent End Point Assessment Organisation. 

End Point Assessment Consists Of 

  • Review of behaviours evaluation log - Apprentice behaviour evaluated on 3 occasions  
  • Synoptic assessment test (SAT) - Achieved through workplace observation. Supervised by Assessor, observed by External Assurer. 
  • Vocational competence discussion - Determines how much apprentice understands role. Conducted under test conditions. 
  • Scenario case study - Apprentice transfers knowledge and skills to a prescribed situation, under test conditions  


The following qualifications will be required prior to taking the end point assessment. 

  • Emergency first aid: Level 3 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 


Entry Requirements 

Learners may have experience in a similar course/job role, although this is not vital, and will hold a GCSE Grade 4/3 or Level 2 Functional Skills in Maths and English. Maths and English are a vital part of your apprenticeship and can really support your progression on your chosen course.

If you do not already hold these levels of Maths and English, we have a friendly and experienced team of lecturers; who can support you throughout and will arrange exams once you are ready. We deliver Functional Skills in a variety of ways; including classroom based and online study.



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. 

Working and learning in the horticulture and landscape industries is rewarding, offers a diverse range of employment opportunities and includes a range of skills that are transferrable into many other industries. 


Entry Requirements

Please see our Group entry requirements

Contact us

We'd love to hear from you

New Dover Road
Canterbury, Kent

01227 811111