Level 2 Landscape/Horticulture Operative

WGC Horticulture Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship Role Profile

Horticulture/Landscape Operative Apprentices can be employed to work in public parks and gardens, green spaces and historic gardens, private gardens and estates or in production nurseries and retail outlets. Many businesses will specialise in their activities, such as grounds maintenance, soft landscaping, or landscape construction.

  • 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.

Delivery Site: Pershore College, Worcestershire

Programme Length: 18 months (13 month practical period to Gateway)

Delivery Mode: 6 x 1 week blocks at college within a 13 month period, 1 day every 3 weeks remote learning

Start Date: October 2023

What Qualifications will I Achieve?

Upon completion of all elements of your apprenticeship, you will be awarded a Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship in Horticulture (Horticulture/Landscape Operative). In addition, you will achieve:

  • Level 3 Emergency First Aid at Work
  • The Safe Use of Pesticides (PA1)
  • Safe Use of Abrasive Wheels (Landscape option)

What are the Entry Requirements?

As a minimum, you should have a Grade 3 in Maths and English Language GCSE. Alternatively, you should have achieved a Grade D under the old grading system.

How will I be Assessed?

You will be required to build a portfolio of work and undertake a range of practical activities within the workplace. This is in preparation for your End-Point Assessment (EPA) which will consist of:

  • Online multiple choice test
  • Practical demonstration
  • Professional discussion

These are graded:

  • Fail
  • Pass (60-79%)
  • Distinction (80-100%)

You will also need to pass your functional skills in Maths and English at Level 1 (although you may be exempt from these if you already have GCSE passes at A-C or 4-9). Otherwise, you must, in addition to passing your Level 1, attempt the Level 2 test for Maths and English.

What is the Entry Process?

We advertise our apprenticeship vacancies on the National Apprenticeship Service website. Applicants will be invited for a pre-interview with a member of the WCG team to gather some background information and discuss the apprenticeship role in more detail. Suitable candidates will then be forwarded to the employer for shortlisting.

Alternatively, you can contact 4th Corner directly by emailing us at info@4thcorner.co.uk or calling 01295 817628 and asking to speak to our HR team.

What Careers can this Lead to?

You could progress onto the Level 3 Horticulture/Landscape Supervisor Apprenticeship. Previous 4th Corner apprentices have become Senior Team Leaders and Head of Soft Landscaping after completing this Level 3 course.

We offer all of our apprentices further training and career progression within our business.

Modules Covered

Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours in Horticulture covering:

  • Industry understanding: the importance and benefits of green-space and the types of horticultural skills appropriate to different businesses and cultural sites.
  • Business: business policies, vision and values. Workers’ contribution to earning profit and awareness of commercial pressure. Understanding of how project management informs a team to achieve objectives.
  • Communication: the importance of clear communication. Knowledge of different forms of communication aids and their use. The value of effective and timely communication with customers.
  • Health and safety: health and safety regulations, legislation, policy and procedure and the responsibility of workers. Knowledge of hazards and working to strict health, safety, quality and environmental (HSQE) processes particularly appropriate to horticultural sites.
  • Environmental: waste and waste reduction/recycling and environmental best practice. Prevention and control of local pollution incidents.
  • Plant growth and development: plant nutrition and plant requirements. The principles of germination, photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration (the science of plant growth). How to care for plants correctly in different environments. The relationship between environmental conditions and plant growth.
  • Tools, equipment and machinery: correct tools, equipment and machinery required for the job and the importance of maintenance / regular checks of these items to ensure they remain in good working order.  Legal requirement of training by a competent person and familiarity with operator training and certification requirements.
  • Vegetation control: how to control vegetation and methods of site clearance and removal of vegetation.
  • Biosecurity: biosecurity and phytosanitary measures for pests and diseases and how these apply to work sites. Awareness of invasive alien species that may impact work methods.
  • Plant identification: plant identification by scientific names including genus, species and cultivar. Know why and how plants are identified.
  • Soil science: why, when and how to cultivate soils for differing purposes. Different growing media and mulches. How to modify soils for plant growth and understand the reasons for cultivation and drainage.
  • Plant health: basic pest & disease identification/symptoms and control methods


  • Communication; communicate with others, including clients, the public and colleagues, this may require basic IT systems use.
  • Team working; work alone and as part of a team effectively and recognise how all staff are dependent on each other to meet business objectives.
  •  Health and safety; apply relevant health and safety processes and procedures. Implement specific industry information on hazards relevant to horticultural environments.
  • Environmental; prevent and control local pollution incidents e.g. use of spill kits. Planting, plant growth and development; care for plants correctly in different environments.
  • Soil cultivation; cultivate and improve soils by mechanical methods and by hand, making and amelioration of growing media and soils.
  • Tools, equipment and machinery; safely use tools e.g. spades, rakes, shovels; equipment e.g. tape measure and spirit level and machinery e.g. pedestrian controlled mowers, hand held strimmer, hedgecutter.
  • Vegetation control; follow processes and methods of site clearance, using tools and machinery for pruning and vegetation control, including basic turf management. Follow weed control methods.
  • Maintain hard structures; maintain structures relevant to the business activities. Site presentation; work to a specified finish.

Additional skills for sector – choose one option from the list below:

Landscape Operative:

  • Install various hard-landscape construction features and structures e.g. paths, patios, fences and walls. This will include basic bricklaying, paving, timber decking, setting levels, and service identification.
  • Free hand cutting and bench cutting of hard landscape materials during construction using abrasive wheels.
  • Assess and repair hard structures; evaluate hazards and damage and if appropriate carry out repair or report.  Examples include broken drainage, rotten timber, cracked paving stone, frost damage brickwork.
  • Work without causing damage to features present such as irrigation, turf and aquatic environments.

Horticultural Operative:

  • Undertake correct pruning techniques for a range of plants.
  •  Cultivate and maintain soft-landscape elements e.g. shrubs, trees, herbaceous, bedding, grass areas and seed. Assist the establishment of an area of turf through laying, irrigation, maintenance, and allowing appropriate establishment time before use.
  • Undertake basic propagation skills including division, cuttings, seed sowing and seed collection.
  • Work without causing damage to features present such as irrigation, turf and aquatic environments.

In addition to the above, apprentices will also need to achieve:

  • Level 3 Emergency First Aid at Work
  • The Safe Use of Pesticides (PA1)
  • Safe Use of Abrasive Wheels (Landscape option)

Any Functional requirements will need to have been achieved prior to entering Gateway.

For more information about the course, visit the WGC website.