Horticulture Operative Apprenticeship Level 2 -

Horticulture Operative Apprenticeship Level 2

Course Details

  • Department

  • Qualification

    Level 2
  • Length

    1 Year
  • Location(s)


Course at a glance

An apprenticeship is a job with training. The job must have a productive purpose and should provide the apprentice with the opportunity to embed and consolidate the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need for their immediate job and future career.

Entry Requirements


Individual employers will set their own selection criteria.

Apprentices should have or be able to complete Level 1 Maths and English, equivalent to GCSE Grade 2 (old GCSE Grade E) or above, plus suitable and relevant employment. Apprentices will be expected to work towards Level 2 Maths and English where this has not been achieved.

Cost for students aged Under 19


For students over the age of 19 please contact us

Course summary

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.

Horticulture or landscape operatives can be employed to work in public parks and gardens, green spaces and historic gardens, private gardens and estates. Many businesses will be specialised in their activities, such as grounds maintenance (soft-landscape) or landscape construction (hard-landscape). Soft-landscaping includes the establishment and maintenance of plants and cultivated areas. Hard-landscaping includes establishment of hard surfaces and structures in addition to the establishment of plants in cultivated areas.

The distinct nature of these two specialisms means very few businesses can offer the full breadth of skills and therefore two options are available for this occupation; horticulture and landscape construction.

This Apprenticeship Standard includes the completion of core requirements and then one option appropriate to their workplace: horticulture or landscaping. The horticulture option focuses on plant propagation and plant growth. The landscape construction option focuses on the installation of features and structures; application of landscape materials as well as supporting site management.

Work is generally based outside and undertaken throughout the year, so apprentices will frequently work outside in all weathers. 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.

If you wish to work in horticulture producing food crops, you should look at the Crop Technician apprenticeship standard.

This apprenticeship is the starting point for those wishing to work directly in the horticulture industry. On completion apprentices can progress to the Landscape/Horticulture Supervisor apprenticeship, where they have sufficient responsibility within their job role.

Key Information

Through your daily work with your employer and your training sessions with the college, you will learn the core content and that relevant to the pathway you are following.

Core content includes:

  • Communicating with others, including clients, the public and colleagues, this may require basic IT systems use.
  • Working alone and as part of a team effectively and recognise how all staff are dependent on each other to meet business objectives.
  • Applying relevant health and safety processes and procedures.
  • Working with consideration for the environment
  • Planting and caring for plants correctly in different environments, including basic irrigation methods, planting methods and identifying plant deficiencies.
  • Installing various soft-landscape materials e.g. shrubs, trees, herbaceous, bedding, grass areas and seed. T
  • Cultivating and improving soils by mechanical methods and by hand, making and amelioration of growing media and soils.
  • Using tools, equipment and machinery safely.
  • Vegetation control such as site clearance, using tools and machinery for pruning and vegetation control, including basic turf management.
  • Maintaining hard structures relevant to the business activities.

For the landscape pathway the following are also required:

  • Measuring and setting out sites g. use of tape measures and measuring wheels, defining features by using string lines or aerosol markers, the principles in defining site levels using manual or electrical equipment.
  • Marking out hazards including interpretation of construction drawings and specifications e.g. quantities, measurements and positioning.
  • The safe use of abrasive wheels for cutting hard landscape materials during construction.
  • Water feature construction methods g. linings, pumps, water courses.
  • Installing various hard-landscape construction features and structures g. paths, patios, fences and walls. This will include basic brick laying, paving, timber decking, setting levels, services identification.
  • Assessing and repairing hard landscaping structures including such as broken drainage, rotten timber, cracked paving stone, frost damage brick work.

For the horticulture pathway the following are also required:

  • Applying different growing media for plant production and propagation, and watering techniques including irrigation systems and hand watering.
  • Ornamental turf management through basic maintenance; including mowing, aeration, scarification, and top dressing.
  • Monitoring horticulture areas for issues including damage, water issues, pests and diseases
  • Maintaining ornamental aquatic environments including organic matter control both inside and around the feature and monitoring for any maintenance or safety issues.
  • Undertaking correct pruning techniques for a range of plants.
  • Undertaking basic propagation skills including division, cuttings, seed sowing and seed collection.


You will also have to achieve the following qualifications:

  • Level 3 award in emergency first aid at work
  • Level 2 Awards in Safe Use of Pesticides

On successful completion of the training period, you will move through End Point Assessment Gateway and be in a position to undertake the assessments required in order to achieve your apprenticeship.

The End Point Assessment will only start once the employer is satisfied that you are consistently working at or above the level set out in the occupational standard, the pre-requisite gateway requirements have been met and that they can be evidenced to an End Point Assessment Organisation.

The End Point Assessor will be appointed by the EPAO and will be entirely independent to the college.

For this apprenticeship the End Point Assessment will include:

  • Multiple choice exam, usually taken at college
  • Practical assessment of tasks in your workplace
  • Professional discussion in your workplace

Your apprenticeship will be graded Fail, Pass, Merit or Distinction.



The duration of the apprenticeship is based on a skills analysis and the development opportunities within the business.

The maximum duration for this apprenticeship training period is 24 months, with up to a further 6 months to undertake the End Point Assessment.


This could be reduced where an apprentice holds previous experience.


Individual employers will set their own selection criteria.

Apprentices should have or be able to complete Level 1 Maths and English, equivalent to GCSE Grade 2 (old GCSE Grade E) or above, plus suitable and relevant employment.


Apprentices will be expected to work towards Level 2 Maths and English where this has not been achieved.


Employers pay for apprenticeship training, where fees are applicable. We will discuss this with your employer when we complete a set-up with them.

The fees charged for the apprenticeship include any awarding body registration costs, all on-programme teaching, assessment and support delivered by the college, support materials, access to college facilities such as the Learning Resource Centre, Student Moodle, and access to wider college student support services where required.


Employers must pay apprentices at least the minimum rate set out by current National Minimum Wage Legislation. This includes payment for all off-job learning and any associated costs such as travel and accommodation.

Information about the National Minimum Wage can be found at:


Employer involvement

Your employer must enable you to spend a minimum of 20% of your usual work hours undertaking off-job learning. This is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of the apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at your normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of your normal working duties, and must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard.

Off-job learning could include the following:

  • Teaching of theory such as lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training
  • Practical training such as shadowing experienced staff or mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions
  • Study support and time spent writing assessments/assignments

Your employer must commit to supporting you in the workplace, participating in progress review meetings, providing use of ICT facilities so you can access your e-portfolio and agreeing/ensuring your readiness for the End Point Assessment. They may be required to provide further supporting evidence/endorsements about your performance, which form part of the End Point Assessment.

Further details of the End Point Assessment will be made available to you during your induction.

College input

We will support you through regular Apprenticeship Progress Review meetings with you and your manager, provide well planned vocational training and theory delivery by block release model and support your theory learning in the workplace with a range of learning materials.

This programme is delivered at our York Campus on Block-release, although it may run at Middlesbrough if there was sufficient demand.

How to apply

Applications should be made using the college application form or via the college website.

This form can be found at: https://www.askham-bryan.ac.uk/application/register.

Upon receipt of your application you will have an interview with the Course Manager.

Further information

Further information is available on:

Horticulture or landscape operative / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

Or, for more information, contact the Apprenticeship Admin team on:


  • York Campus

    York is one of the College's two residential campuses and is located just four miles from York city centre. At York we offer a full range of subject areas and levels including Apprenticeships, Level 1-3 Diplomas, Foundation, Top Up and BSc Honours Degrees.

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