The Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Gardens scheme provides a unique opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification and practical hands-on work experience in the acclaimed gardens of the Cambridge colleges.
Founded in 1209, Cambridge University is one of the oldest universities in the world and a leader in academic research. It does not have a main campus as it is formed of 31 colleges each with its own garden with a distinctive setting, character and style.
The gardens that surround each College provide tranquil spaces for study and recreation, leisure facilities, allotments and kitchen gardens, wildlife havens and important plant collections. In the summer they are the setting for May Balls and garden parties, and increasingly for corporate events and conferences.
More than 150 professional gardeners are employed throughout the University, in a setting with a world-class reputation and excellent standards. Working with one of the College teams, you will gain the experience and knowledge needed to join one of the largest industries in the UK and exciting opportunities worldwide. The qualification will give you a good grounding in the science, theory and practical skills required to continue into a career in horticulture that is creative, enjoyable and rewarding.
On the job training will be delivered by the managers and trainers in individual College garden departments, with a focus on practical skills. Work is generally outdoors throughout the year in all weathers and can be physically demanding so a certain level of fitness is required. There will be opportunities for learning from specialists in areas ranging from sports turf to wildflower meadows, orchards to woodlands and ponds to swimming pools.
The theoretical training needed to achieve the national apprenticeship standard will be provided by Keits Ltd, one of the country’s premier private training providers. Approximately fortnightly sessions and end point assessments will be based at King’s College Fellows Garden. As a member of the scheme, you will have the added benefit of training and forming connections with other college apprentices and gardeners, and guest lectures and talks from prominent people working within the industry. The regular plant identification sessions will be held at the internationally renowned University Botanic Garden, home to over 8,000 species of plants, including 9 national collections and a wonderful arboretum.
Apprentices can start the course at any time as the training has been planned with reinforcement of the knowledge-based components of the programme, both theoretical and practical. The taught element of the programme is for 17 months and after this point a Gateway meeting is held between the apprentice, training provider and employer to determine if the apprentice is ready for their End Point Assessment (EPA).
The End Point Assessment consists of a knowledge test, practical tasks assessed by an independent external assessor and a professional discussion with that assessor.