Horticulture or Landscape Construction Operative

Level 2 Apprenticeship

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. The distinct nature of these two specialisms means this apprenticeship has two specialist pathways available; horticulture or landscape construction. 

What apprentices will learn

  • Importance and application of health and safety legislation
  • Codes of practice and policies, including risk assessment, manual handling etc
  • Concepts of good environmental and sustainable good practices, including an understanding of how to contribute to government led sustainability and zero carbon targets
  • Environmental controls and compliance with regulations including pollution control, waste reduction, management and recycling.
  • Impact of environmental conditions on plant growth and health
  • Soil science including soil formation, characteristics, texture and components, biological processes and their impact on plant growth.
  • Situations where special care should be taken including where heritage, environmental or planning designations may be present. The importance of complying with rules in place to protect the site.
  • Maintenance, operational requirements, pre start checks and legislation for tools, equipment and machinery including operator competence requirements.
  • The importance of maintaining records in a business setting.
  • Methods for idenitfying plants and plant biology
  • Main introduction routes for plant pests and diseases
  • Biosecurity and phytosanitary measures
  • Techniques for clearing sites and controlling weeds including identification and reasons for removal, techniques for control (including chemical) and situations for use
  • Cultivate, improve and preserve soils by mechanical methods and or by hand including amelioration and mulching
  • Types of turf, installation of turf and mowing of turf
  • Use of digital tools and techniques for research and collaboration
  • Put safety first and customer care
  • Role of business policies, vision and values
  • How project management informs a team to achieve objectives

Horticulture pathway

  • Propagate plants by cuttings and seed sowing (this might be indoors or outdoors). Including selection of suitable growing media and or soil
  • Provide aftercare to recently installed turf and maintain established turf or species rich meadows including irrigation, maintenance, monitoring health and protection from use
  • Identify if plants are suitable to site, purpose and aesthetics
  • Maintain soft landscapes for example - staking or support, division, seasonal clearance, and re-planting
  • Monitor and control plant pests, pathogens, and disorders using basic control methods (including application of chemicals or organic equivalents)
  • Plant herbaceous and seasonal planting (for example bedding, herbs or bulbs)
  •  Prune plants to achieve healthy growth and form (including natural habit and formal or trained form)

Construction Landscape pathway

  • Measure and set out an uncomplicated site in preparation for landscape construction activities
  • Use free hand cutting and or bench cutting of hard landscape materials using abrasive wheels.
  • Repair constructed landscape features (simple and noncomplex) for example re-grouting, re-sanding, damaged fencing
  • Construct paved feature for example path, patio or shed base. Including setting levels, sub bases, laying bases, finishing
  • Construct vertical landscape features including fences, ornamental vertical features, and wall
  • Install drainage in landscaping
  • Construct horizontal landscape features (excluding paving).

Qualifications Awarded

  • Apprenticeship Certificate
  • Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work (both pathways)
  • Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides (both pathways)
  • Level 2 Award in the Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (horticulture pathway only)
  • Abrasive Wheel Machines Course (construction landscape pathway only)
  • Level 1 in maths and English (if applicable)

Delivery model

Attendance at Plumpton College's Horticulture and Landscaping Centre one day week during term time (approx 32 full days a year) alongside quarterly workplace competency and efficiency observation and assessments.

End Point Assessment

  • Professional discussion based on apprentice’s portfolio
  • Online knowledge test
  • Practical assessment

Apprenticeship Graded

  • Fail, Pass, Distinction

Course details

Dates & Location

Next cohort enrolment in March/April with an expected start month of April 2024


Typically 24 months (some apprentices could complete sooner depending on their previous experience and qualifications, their perfomance during the apprenticeship and the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in the workplace)


Costs to the employer will be dependent on several factors such as age of apprentice and size (number of employees) of the business. Please contact our Business Services team on 01273 892127 for more information.

Entry Requirements

To enrol onto an apprenticeship programme you need to be employed with a contract of employment. If you have an employer lined up or are already employed please contact our Business Services team on 01273 892127 or via email.

You must be in a role that will allow you the opportunity to develop the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours relevant to the apprenticeship. Additionally, apprentices must have a working level of maths and English that will allow successful achievement of level 1 functional skill prior to the end point assessment.

Prior to enrolment potential apprentices will be required to complete;

  • Maths and English assessment
  • Existing skills, knowledge and behaviour assessment

If you do not currently have an employer please visit the main Apprenticeships page for guidance on how to find and apply for an apprenticeship opportunity or register for our Talent Bank service.

If you are an employer and would like to recruit or enrol an existing employee onto an apprenticeship please contact our Business Services team on  01273 892127 or via email.


You will have access to extensive college grounds and a large-scale garden for practical delivery and off-site learning at One Garden Brighton.

Plumpton College has experienced industry tutors with extensive experience working in stately home gardens, retail garden centres, and country estates and hard landscaping commercial businesses.

Apprentices will receive a discount on our LandPro Training suite of qualifications and assessments e.g. LANTRA Ride On Mowers

Future Opportunities

On completion of this apprenticeship the opportunity to progress in the workplace and take on more responsibility and/or continue with your skills and knowledge development and progress onto a higher level apprenticeship:

Horticulture Supervisor Level 3


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