Royal Parks looking for apprentices to plant ideas for horticultural careers

Planting seeds of horticultural career in Royal Parks

Planting seeds of horticultural career in Royal Parks - Credit: Royal Parks

Applications for an apprenticeship scheme are now open for school leavers in east London who fancy a career in London’s Royal parks.

The scheme combines on-the-job horticultural training leading to recognised qualifications.

Apprentice gardeners are paid a salary to gain hands-on experience and get recognised qualifications over three years.

“I’m developing a keen interest in the design element of gardening,” first-year apprentice Charlie Blackmore, 20, reveals. “It’s a career avenue I may explore further.

“I have already had the chance to design planting for the small cascade which is being planted in the autumn — now waiting to see the end result.”

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The three-year programme has many former apprentices going on to permanent jobs, including roles as park managers and contract managers for landscape maintenance contractors. Some former apprentices have also gone on to work for other prestigious locations abroad, including Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia, one of America’s most famous botanical gardens.

Apprentices are based at one of London’s Royal parks such as Regent’s Park, where Charlie is being trained, where they work five days a week and are released every few weeks to attend Pershore College in Warwickshire.

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Park Services Head Dennis Clarke explains: “It’s a bespoke scheme designed around aspirations and ability of apprentices, with options to study for Royal Horticultural Society certificates and completing our Certificate of Achievement.”

“There is also the option to study for Royal Horticultural Society certificates as well as completing our Apprenticeship Certificate of Achievement.”

Royal Parks can take up to 30 apprentices at a time. They want to recruit 15 apprentices this year, with various levels of skill and experience.

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