The gardening trade plays an important role in how neighbourhoods and private properties look, as well as in the condition of recreation areas.
There is no set entry route into the trade and many workers start their careers as labourers, carrying out tasks such as digging, cutting grass and disposing of garden waste. Industrial recruitment agencies often supply labourers for gardening jobs on a temporary basis, which can be a good way for people to gain some relevant work experience.
Local councils, landscape gardening contractors, facilities and estate management companies, luxury hotels, and sports clubs take on apprentices and trainees on a permanent basis. This sort of employment opportunity usually begins with labouring work, but will progress to more skilled tasks such as planting, pruning, landscaping and laying patios.
These entry-level positions typically pay in the region of £12,000 a year, rising to £18,000 after three years. In addition to some hands-on work experience, studying for relevant qualifications, such as a level 3 certificate in horticulture or a level 2 diploma in sports turf maintenance, can help to open up more career opportunities.
Staff can work towards permanent jobs as a supervisor for a council or facilities management company or as a sports club groundsman. Many roles of this sort are filled by internal promotions, although it is not unusual for employers to use recruitment agencies to find the right people. However, some experienced gardeners prefer to work on a self-employed basis, doing jobs for local homeowners and property developers.