//How do I get into Horticulture if I live in Cornwall?

How do I get into Horticulture if I live in Cornwall?

Horticultural Careers – how to start one off if you live in Cornwall

What help is out there if you decide you’d like to start a career in horticulture?

If you live in Cornwall, the rest of the country and openings ‘up the line’ can seem rather remote, but there are in fact great opportunities for you to train or get experience in your own county. And many others actually travel to our part of the world to enroll on courses, volunteer or take up jobs in Cornwall.

World class horticultural facilities in Cornwall

On your doorstep, you have access to some of the UK’s, if not some of the world’s, leading nurseries, gardens, educational and training facilities. And if formal training is not your thing, then you can always do voluntary or paid work to pick up certain levels of skills in the huge range of locations throughout the county.

Some well-known gardeners, such as the Gardener’s World presenter Monty Don, are self-taught. But if you want to progress, and you haven’t already got many years of personal experience, then some structured training will probably be necessary. One of the Royal Horticultural Society’s general or more advanced qualifications, for instance, will give you confidence as well as knowledge.

Courses can be taken on a full or part time basis. For those who need to fit things around work or family lives, part time, or distance learning can be the best fit. Bursaries are also available if you wish to specialise in a certain field or if you show potential and institutions want to support you.

There are some useful national websites which we summarise below. And our ‘Learning’ dropdown menu above takes you to links for local training facilities if you are interested in a taking a degree or City & Guilds qualification, NPTC Diploma, HND or RHS courses within Cornwall. Apprenticeships, where you study but also do some relevant paid work, are also available through the Cornwall College Group.


A high proportion of people who decide they’d like to explore working in this field, switch careers from totally unrelated industries. Indeed, some of the leading horticultural institutions in the UK have recently been actively encouraging people to do so as they value the fact that career changers can contribute enormously to the field.

The industry’s varied strands of work (including design, plant production or garden maintenance) always have a high demand for new recruits. So whether you want to work for yourself or someone else, it is worth exploring the many options open to you – at whatever time of your life.

How to decide which area of horticulture you want to work in

  1. What gives you the biggest buzz? Seeing plants you’ve nurtured grow? Designing the overall look of a garden? Investigating the science behind plants? Maintaining a garden throughout the seasons?
  2. Talk to those already working in the area that most appeals to you and ask them for advice.
  3. Volunteer in your area of interest to get first hand experience and discover if you really do enjoy that particular field.

Contact us if you have any comments or advice to give to those looking for horticultural careers. Or if you run a business which recruits volunteers or apprentices. If are currently on a horticultural course in Cornwall – would you like to write about your experiences? Let us know via our Contact Page.

Useful websites with general advice for those in the UK





plants for cornish crops at Eden Project Cornwall

A sign at The Eden Project

Article publication date: 13th March 2018