A career in horticulture involves the growing and maintenance of plants for a wide range of purposes. Horticulturists work as groundsmen at sports clubs, within the food industry and for a wide range of landscaping organisations.
Finding employment within the horticulture industry does not always rely on formal qualifications. Entry-level positions are often available for those who show a real passion for the profession. It is not unusual for people to work on an unpaid basis in order to gain experience, and many people within the industry started learning the basics straight from school. There are some great opportunities to gain qualifications during employment, and some employers will fund the necessary training. The Royal Horticultural Society is the main awarding body for qualifications in the UK, and the ultimate accolade is the Master of Horticulture certificate - usually an essential qualification for senior management positions.
An experienced horticulturist has a number of options for employment, and recruitment agencies will be just as concerned with an applicant's experience as they are with formal qualifications. As well as working for professional football and cricket clubs, large-scale farming operations, food manufacturers and landscaping companies will always be on the look out for skilled workers. The public sector also employs horticultural staff to maintain and cultivate large public parks and gardens. The work can be physical, so a reasonable level of fitness is usually required. A great deal of the work is carried out in all weathers, so applicants should be prepared to get wet occasionally!
A horticultural manager with lots of experience can expect to receive a salary of between £35,000 and £45,000 in the private sector. School-leavers will often work for minimum wage while they learn their skills, and experienced workers should expect to receive around £10 per hour.