Horticulture (England)

Framework status: Current (latest) issue

Framework details

Framework ID: FR02699
Issue number: 6
Issued: 14 February 2014

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Horticulture (England)
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Issued by

Contact name: Julie Murphy
Telephone number: 02476 419703
Please download the framework for email contact information.


Defining Apprenticeships

An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme under an Apprenticeship Agreement designed by employers in the sector. It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with functional and personal skills, required for their immediate job and future career. These are acquired through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off the job training and the opportunity to practice and embed new skills in a real work context. This broader mix differentiates the Apprenticeship experience from training delivered to meet narrowly focused job needs.

All apprentices commencing their Apprenticeship must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice. This can be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the Apprenticeship.

On completion of the Apprenticeship the apprentice must be able to undertake the full range of duties, in the range of circumstances appropriate to the job, confidently and competently to the standard set by the industry.

The Horticulture Industry

Horticulture is a broad and varied industry that can be split into four main areas:

  1. Landscaping comprising of many different types of business and employment, including both the public and private sectors. Businesses range from small contracting firms to large integrated, multi-national companies and local authorities.
  2. Production horticulture is made up of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) many of which are family run. This typically includes businesses producing fruit, vegetables, protected crops, plants, flowers, bulbs, nursery stock and trees.
  3. Sports turf and golf greenkeeping which includes managing and maintaining sports turf/grounds that are to be used for sport but need to meet specific requirements. Typically they are small industries and may even be part of a larger organisation.
  4. Parks, gardens and green space comprises of local authority parks and greenspace, private gardens, heritage and botanic gardens.

Research carried out by Lantra in 2013 found that micro-businesses dominate the land-based and environmental sector; 85% of Horticulture businesses employ fewer than ten people. Horticulture is a large industry within the land-based and environmental sector representing 18% of the businesses (27,860) and 24% of the employment, of which the majority are full-time employees; however, this emphasises the need for employees to have a variety of skills to help organisations grow and remain profitable.  

The Horticulture industry has an ageing workforce; in Amenity Horticulture, 60% are aged 40 or over and for Production Horticulture, 41% are aged 50 or over. Key decision makers within Production Horticulture are around 55 years of age and around half of these do not have successors. Therefore the Apprenticeship aims to encourage new recruits into the Horticulture industry by offering progression opportunities to ensure the future of the skills and knowledge within the industry.

Migrant workers form a significant proportion of the workforce, particularly in Production Horticulture and with the changes to how many migrants can work in England there will be a need to recruit applicants from other sources.

This Apprenticeship framework encompasses the skills needed by new entrants to ensure they have the right mix of skills and those already employed have the opportunity to upskill. This will ensure that employees within Horticulture have the skills required to be competent in their employment.

The Horticulture industry values the Apprenticeship as an entry route into the sector as it offers apprentices the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge by completing hands-on work experience. The industry support for the Apprenticeship is evidenced by the growth in the completions of the Apprenticeship in England over the last two years as indicated below:


  • Level 2 - 1126
  • Level 3 - 246
  • Total - 1372


  • Level 2 - 781
  • Level 3 - 73
  • Total - 854

During the review of this Apprenticeship, Lantra involved the Horticulture industry including trade associations such as Soil Association, Horticultural Trade Association, Institute of Horticulture, Institute of Groundsmanship, Professional Gardeners Guild, local authorities and a number of independent businesses. By involving trade associations and independent businesses we ensure that the Apprenticeship framework is reflective of the current and future needs of the industry.

Horticulture is for those working to establish, manage, retail or cultivate plants for science, plant production or crop production or to use plants in landscapes to support the built environment, for aesthetics, transport and utility infrastructure, sport or wildlife conservation.

  • Job Roles at Level 2 may include: Gardener, Landscaper, Nursery Worker, Fruit and Vegetable Production Worker, Machinery Operator, Greenkeeper, Groundsman, Gravedigger.
  • Job Roles at Level 3 may include: Horticultural Technician, Deputy Head Greenkeeper, Deputy Head Groundsman, Garden Designer, Landscape Manager, Senior Gardener, Gardener (Historic and Botanic), Parks Officer.

Further information on the Horticulture industry can be found at: www.lantra.co.uk.

Download framework

Horticulture (England)
(PDF document 2.78 MB)